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Guapo - Obscure Knowledge CD (album) cover





3.78 | 74 ratings

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3 stars Despite a growing frustration with the high and vocal early praise that Guapo releases garner, I have decided to press on regardless in my patient getting-to-know, give-em-a-chance attitude to this band. Though my first exposure to them, the universally acclaimed 2004 release, "Five Suns," helped convince me that this might be (one of) the new direction(s) of Zuehl, I have now decided that the music of this band is less Zeuhl and more Avant Garde/RIO (which is probably the band's intention after all).

1. "Obscure Knowledge (Part I)" (25:39) Opens with a fairly exciting six-minute section that is straight out of the Zeuhl textbook, but then transitions into a rather-prolonged ten-minute SWANS-like section which is all founded upon the repetetive ejaculation of a single guitar chord. The sudden switch into a kind of 1960s BLACK SABBATH blues-rock. At 17:30 the music leaps into a series of YES-like machine gun explosions which is then followed by a brief Steve Howe-like passage which is then transformed into a Robert Fripp-like riff which becomes the new theme foundations for a five minute section of continuous experimental sound discharges. This is then ended by the band's quick discourse into a Crimson/VDGG-like fabric which then gets the Kavus/Fripp treatment from the lead guitar. Nice section that ends in the 25th minute with a brief return to a variation of the SWANS-like theme. This is quickly cast off in favor of a very thick, heavy King Crimson patch. But, alas, this is too good to last as the band falls back into a prolonged single-chord format for the song's final section in which the bass, organ, Fender Rhodes, and second guitar are (thankfully) more prominent (though Kavus' single chord guitar is still far in the foreground). (42.5/50)

2. "Obscure Knowledge (Part II)" (4:38) is an organ and bagpipe-led piece that again can't help but remind me of a SWANS song. All kinds of incidental "wind"-like sounds are thrown into the cauldron by the various other musicians, making for an interesting cacophony of babeldom. I actually quite like it! (9/10)

3. "Obscure Knowledge (Part III)" (12:39) opens with some real blues playing before settling into a kind of Hendrix Haze. Still, this is real music, with foundation in real chords, keys, and scales. (21/25)

Four stars; an excellent contribution to the modern catalogue of Avant/RIO.

BrufordFreak | 3/5 |


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