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Celebrating 20 years in the game, the much-admired instrumental, experimental rock band Guapo are celebrating by releasing 'Obscure Knowledge', their explosive new album and tenth release!
The group started their life as a heavy bass/drums duo playing post-hardcore, noisy rock, but in the two decades since, they have expanded their instrumentation and their stylistic references to become one of Europe's most highly respected 'muscular and modern' experimental/progressive rock bands.
Centered around founding member and extraordinary drummer David J. Smith, the group on the album also features three additional heavy-weights of British experimental rock: Kavus Torabi-guitar (also of Knifeworld, Cardiacs, Gong), Emmett Elvin-keyboards (also of Chrome Hoof, Knifeworld), James Sedwards-bass (also of Thurston Moore Band, Chrome Hoof)
The album's 43 minute long track is a dynamic, fluid beast that takes the listener on a scenic journey through loud New York minimalism, celestial drones, avant rock, kosmiche-noise, rockin' riffs and way beyond.
Smith, who is also a sculptor as well as drummer, looks after the aesthetic considerations of Guapo and is keen to provide a backstory for their albums. Smith explains: ''The title of the piece of music and album is derived from the psychoactive rituals of various Native American people who are said to 'tap into obscure knowledge' when performing certain rituals and rites of passage.''
Top Customer Reviews
The three sections—“Obscure Knowledge I,” “Obscure Knowledge II” and “Obscure Knowledge III”—could provide a soundtrack for psychotropic drug use, due in part to the pulsating plasticity which pours through the music. The almost 26-minute opener, for example, takes listeners on an auditory excursion which includes but is not limited to loud indie-rock noise (shades of the Swans or Sonic Youth), minimalism and droning passages, avant rock, and about half way through there are echoes of King Crimson. During the lengthy piece, there are varied chord alterations, repeated phrases and textural inflections, and a heavy percussive determination. Mostly, though, Guapo stays devoted to a systematic frontward impulse which steadily mushrooms in tempo, strength and tonality.
During the approximately five-minute, “Obscure Knowledge II,” the foursome temporarily edges away from the cliff rim. While this section cannot be termed a respite (there is a sense of foreboding and increasingly noisy keyboards), the absence of drums and percussion means there is no outward thrust.
The noise and tumult rise again during the nearly 13-minute “Obscure Knowledge III.” The arrangement once more brings to mind King Crimson as well as artists such as SONAR or Miriodor, in particular because of the use of repetition and cycling motifs or phrases. There is less of the underlying chaos found on “Obscure Knowledge I,” and the recurrent, main riff supports a groove which the group gravitates to and lifts to a sweltering conclusion. The final minutes offer uproar best experienced with the speakers or headphones turned up to maximum.