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Cerberus Shoal - The Ducks and Drakes of Guapo and Cerberus Shoal CD (album) cover

THE DUCKS AND DRAKES OF GUAPO AND CERBERUS SHOAL

Cerberus Shoal

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars Well as a fan of Experimental post-rock band Cerebus Shoal and just discovering Guapo recently, I had high hopes that this would be some kind of great experimental success. Well not quite! Actually if you compared the two band's sounds, this is more like a Cerebus Shoal album although the full line-up of new Guapo represent three quarters of the musicians involved.

The music developped here is some sort of post-ambient-rock but IMHO, this goes nowhere and fast.I have now heard many such albums and I can say that this is very average and even disappointing from a progressive point of view especially if you consider that Guapo's last two album (with O'Sullivan at the KB) are simply excellent in their genre. As opposed to post-rock album from GYBE! or Do Say May Think and other Constellation label releases , we are in a very uneventful slow evolvind ear-cringing minimalism but not fascinating or hypnotizing like Tortoise or other afore-mentioned groups.

Actually this records is soothing only once it has stopped.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#31881)
Posted Thursday, April 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
diddy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 2.5 Stars accurately

Well, actually it's not a complete Guapo album. It's Guapo together with Cerberus Shoal, a very experimental kind of post rock band containing a great deal of minimalism. The Ducks and Drakes of Guapo and Cerebrus Shoal is the result of a collaboration of these two bands. The first song was completely made by Guapo, the second one by Cerberus Shoal and the third one is a sort of combination of the first two tunes.

Idios Kosmos is an enormous, 17 minute long drone. Unsearchable sounds billow like a waft of mist through your ears. Organ, cello and drums/percussion can be sounded out, the rest is almost indefinable. It reminds me a bit of Popol Vuh and Tangerine Dream I have to say. It's interesting but nothing really special. Please mind that there's no melody in this kind of music, just accumulation of sounds. A man who loved holes, perfomred by Cerberus Shoal is a bit different. Snatches of tape recordings, weirdly distorted computer voices over some kind of conglomeration of keyboard and synthesizer. Here and there you can hear some interposed nursery rhymes or folksongs, I'm also quite sure I heard some of them played backwards. Don't even try to find any patterns or structures here, I can assure you that you won't find any. The last track Kdios Iiosmos, He Two Loved Holes is, strictly speaking, a remix of the previous songs, combining elements of both tracks.

As concluding remark I'd like to point out that this release is not easy to dig. It's experimental, it's structureless and definitely challenging. I listened to it several times now and still find it hard not to turn it off after the first song. But I guess there may be people who appreciate the album. But I also know that there are several other prog fans disliking this kind of minimalism. I'm somewhere in-between and prefer other albums alike.

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Send comments to diddy (BETA) | Report this review (#41827)
Posted Saturday, August 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This album is something of an oddity, one of a series of collaborative projects by The Cerebus Shoal, here working with Guapo. Each band contributes one long piece, and the final track is a mix of the two. As Diddy and Sean Trane have pointed out, this is very experimental stuff which doesn't resemble either band's mainstream output to any great extent - a good point of comparison could be King Crimson's ProjeKcts from a few years ago.

Guapo's track features the 5 Suns/Black Oni line up augmented by cellist Suvi Streatfield. There's a resemblance to Birth Of Liquid Pleiades from Tangerine Dream's Zeit here, a huge monlith of sound that hangs in space and gradually moves to reveal new facets of itself. It's dark and has some real atmosphere, but ultimately it doesn't really go anywhere.

Cerberus Shoal's piece was constructed from improvisations, which were broken down into one minute fragments by one member of the band and these were then reassembled by two others. A lot of voices can be heard, usually spouting pieces of random gibberish. Again, there's an interesting atmosphere but little else to be heard here.

The final remix of the two pieces works pretty well without springing any real surprises either.

It's in the nature of experiments to fail now and then, but that doesn't mean that there's nothing of value to be learned from them. This is definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of either band, or if you like Tangerine Dream's first four albums and minimalism in general. Newcomers would be better off going for 5 Suns or Black Oni.

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Send comments to Syzygy (BETA) | Report this review (#75951)
Posted Sunday, April 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
1 stars This is the third of four in the Cerberus Shoal North East Indie “split CD” series, a set of discs where Cerberus Shoal combine in various ways with like-minded and/or stylishly constrasting bands to produce – well, sometimes something profound, and sometimes just audible annoyance. This time it’s the latter.

Guapo are the closest in style to Cerberus Shoal of the four bands who paired with them on this series. The others – Alvarius B (Sun City Girls), Herman DŁne, and the Magic Carpathians all contrasted with Shoal in one form or another, particularly DŁne who seem to have managed to even influence the Cerberus Shoal offerings on their CD. Guapo do as well, sort of. Both are avant bands who are difficult to classify, and both wander aimlessly at times into post-rock territory without any evidence of real commitment to the form. And in the end that turns out to be the undoing of both bands on this album. In a nutshell this is fifty minutes or so of post-rock electronic tension with slowly building and complex rhythms that threaten to explode into cacophony at any time.

But they don’t – ever. I suppose the two band’s abilities to create anxiety in the listener without ever providing release could be construed as some kind of artistic genius, much the same as performance art of someone pissing on a statue of the Virgin Mary is supposed to harness anger into social commentary and inspire contemplation on the part of the viewer. But in both cases that isn’t what usually happens; the art fails to achieve its goal and instead leaves most observers frustrated and even a little irritated. And that’s not artistic or clever, it’s just annoying.

Guapo lead off with their long and slowly un-building “Idios Kosmos”, a mostly electronic and digital instrumental that leaves me absolutely cold, but in an uninspired way, not one where the music somehow inspired those chills. It’s just boring, nothing more.

Following that Cerberus Shoal offer up an equally lengthy track (“A Man who Loved Holes”). I’ve no idea what either the title or the lyrics and spoken-word sections mean, but that’s no big deal because the same can be said of almost all Cerberus Shoal music. And for the most part I love their albums and the way they continually reinvent themselves and explore all sorts of musical innovations, so the weird lyrics don’t detract at all. The digitized spoken- word parts do though. This is a trait of Shoal music that surfaces quite often on their other records, and never really clicks on any of them. Like the Guapo track, my main complaint with this one is that it never actually gets to where it appears to be going, wandering aimlessly instead until it simply peters out after more than sixteen minutes.

The final song “Kdios Iiosmos, He Two Loved Holes” is, as the title suggests, sort of a melding of the first two, with members of both bands contributing. Plenty more digital drone and slowly-forming soundscapes here as well, more in the Guapo vein then that of Shoal it seems. In the middle there’s a bit of a tense whiny keyboard-and-drone section where I think the album is finally going to reveal something spectacular, but right about the time I start to lick my lips in anticipation it’s gone, and the programmed Hal-2000 mood music takes over once again. Several minutes later the song just fades away altogether.

I love this band and usually appreciate their experimental side; sometimes that backfires though, and this is one of those times. Frankly I haven’t gotten into any of the four split-CD series records, but of the four this one is the least interesting. In fact, as much as it pains me I have to acknowledge that there really isn’t anything redeeming I can find in the entire recording, and so I’ve really no choice but to note it rates no more than one star, and isn’t something I’d recommend to anyone. Sucks, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Don’t let this one aberration deter you from either Guapo or Cerberus Shoal’s other CDs though; most of the two band’s respective discographies are well worth exploring. Just skip this one.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#254433)
Posted Saturday, December 05, 2009 | Review Permalink

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