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Guapo - Five Suns CD (album) cover

FIVE SUNS

Guapo

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.07 | 101 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars So far, this is Guapo's maximum musical achievement, in my opinion. "Five Suns" is the album in which the guys of Guapo could decidedly assert that they had accomplished their own voice in contemporary avant-prog. The overall sound developed and crystallized in this album is an energetic confluence of Present-inspired RIO, zheul, modern Crimson, experimental jazz and heavy-oriented psychedelia. Connections with NeBeLNeST and "From Within"-era Anekdoten can also be traced. A tight musical vision and a solid creative direction are quite patent here, actually, so the least one could say about "Five Suns" is that it is an exuberantly excellent opus - some like me would even go as far as to say that it is a prog masterpiece of our times. Smith handles his drumming and percussive duties fluidly through his diverse functions: sustaining a cacophonic passage, delivering jazzy grooves, go wild when things get electrifyingly rocking, etc.... The intensity and groove he provides during the last 3 minutes of 'Five Suns - Part 3' have to be heard to be believed, and perhaps, not even then. His assemblage with bassist Thompson is one of perfect complementation. Keyboardist O'Sullivan makes his input quite versatile: the sounds emanated from the electric piano, mellotron, synthesizers can be mysterious, agile, abrasive, creepy, majestic: pick the mood that's more convenient for a specific passage and there you are. Let's go to the album in itself now. The 5 sections of the main 'Five Suns' concept get the album started. The first section is an intro theme, based on a few aleatory flows that gradually turn into a display of sheer power, chaotically building up to the ultimate explosion: the momentary interruption by a horror movie-like organ brief sequence adds an unexpected bizarreness to the aforesaid explosion, which is finalized by a gong bang. All other four sections are more explicitly articulated, designing challenging yet recognizable passages whose diversity is properly ordained in each unit. Tension is somehow a result of the way in which the musicians interact, but mostly it is the strategy for the conveyance of the musical trend envisioned for this mature Guapo. 'Part 4' is the least disturbing, starting with a languid, calm atmosphere, but eventually the mood gets acid and aggressive. 'Part 5' gives preferential room to autumnal moods, quiet and dense at the same time, in this way relating zheul to post-rock. Track 6 is untitled, and it consists of one minute of silence - why not entitle it 'One Minute of Silence', so the band don't have to pay absurd money to John Cage's heirs? OK; I totally aggress. The last two tracks state less ambitious trends that the ones followed in the parts of the 'Five Suns' concept. They have the unenviable mission of succeeding the master composition, but fortunately, they also are great tracks with lots of inventiveness and stamina. 'Mictlan' delivers a sense of agility mixed with mysterious psychedelic tones (not unlike Matching Mole), in this way creating a rare aura of warmth and intensity. The album's last 6 minutes are occupied by 'Topan', a piece that initially digs deeper in the jazz aspect than the preceding track did. The emergence of tight pulsations by the rhythm duo and dissonant developments on keyboards makes things quite tense, but there is no intention to elaborate a storming climax. The tension is effectively preserved without reaching an outburst point. It is a peculiar way to end an album whose first 46 minutes were a manifestation of menacing fire. Anyway, like I said before, "Five Suns" is a masterpiece - this is where the essential Guapo sound got a definitive affirmation.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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