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Guapo - Guapo vs. Magma CD (album) cover





3.95 | 3 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Being as prolific as British current avant-prog legend Guapo is, it is really hard to recommend a starting point for the curious uninitiated. The band's CDs pretty much reflect what the band is all about, although it is fair to say that they have managed to be varied all the way through their musical evolution. On the other hand, some EPs by them tend to show their most aggressive side, with little room for the nuances that they're capable to develop in their longer-duration recordings. "Guapo vs. Magma" is a particularly harsh recording by Guapo, during a time when it was just a duo of drummer Dave Smith and guitarist/bassist Matt Thompson. This is supposed to be some sort of tribute to Magma, but the word "versus" seems to hint at a different attitude, one of confrontation. And definitely, tracks 1, 4 and 6 can be describes as tributes to the masters of zheul elaborated with an oppositional stance. The duo's sonic approaches lead to explorations into the dementially powerful standards of current zheul, more related to Happy Family or Bondage Fruit than to Magma themselves. None of these tracks is too long, but gives enough room to the musicians as to create disturbance and instill it in the listener's mind. 'Towers Open Fire' is pure avant-prog frenzy, while 'Iron Chicken' uses a more languid tempo to give the oppressive sounds a more nightmarish vibe. The closer 'Uranium' stands somewhere in the middle, providing a pertinent display of controlled sonic adventure. I sense the Magma influence more notably in other Guapo items than this one. The remaining tracks help to complete the EP's overall non-Magma feel. Not really tracks, they are Dadaist pastiches that wouldn't have been out of place in any of Faust's earlier albums. Despite its short duration, I won't dare label this recording as just non-essential or simply a collector's item - this material is very valuable for the avant-prog lover to enjoy the darkest side of one of the most enormous avant-prog acts nowadays, i.e., Guapo.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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