Release Year : 2015
Label : Cuneiform Records
Genre: Avant Garde|Progressive
Country: United Kingdom
David J. Smith – Drums
Kavus Torabi – Bass
James Sedwards – Guitars
Emmett Elvin – Keyboards
With only 10 official years in as Guapo, the band has managed to build a very impressive body of work in such little time. A body of work that rivals that of a band that has been together for 20 years or more. Often compared in the Zuehl genre such as Magma and Univers Zero blended with Post Rock bands as Godspeed and Black Emperor, Guapo have not been shy nor timid to expand nor experiment musically on one level or another. Their latest offering Obscure Knowledge is a perfect example of that. I would be willing to even go on a limb and recognize many psychedelic elements in Obscure Knowledge as well.
Obscure Knowledge only has 3 tracks yet takes your mind on a adventure. This time I will present a track by track analysis.
Obscure Knowledge I – This one opens up with a nice blend of a hammond keyboard sound mixed with a gentle flare from the drum cymbals to create almost a suspenseful atmosphere. Around the 2:02 mark a harmonic acension of both the bass and guitar continue to build this suspense. It starts to feel like a film score vibe. At about the 4:00 mark it starts to have all the classic hallmarks and time signatures of prog’s past with Yes and King Crimson on the British side with some of the Krautrock minimalist influences of Popol Vuhl and Can.
It is liken that of a improv progressive jam band session that bands like Oresund Space Collective, Hydria Spacefolk and even Buckethead are notorious for. There are also a lot of 7/8, 5/8 4/4 time signatures interweaving like a web to give the listener more of a journey inside the listening experience through the 25:39 epic.
Obscure Knowledge II – This is a rather sick track that harkens back to the days where you had to plug in on certain areas of a keyboard, mellotron or hammond to get diversity of effects. The day’s when a few simple pedels would not suffice for the desired effect. It also serves as a great bridge into Obscure Knowledge III.
Obscure Knowledge III – Opening up with a thunderous rhythm exchange between bass and drums , Obscure Knowledge III is perhaps the rhythm anchor to the album. If you are s proghead that really enjoys rhythm sections this is paradise for you. The only thing really lacking is a double bass drum. However that is compensated for with the bass serving as both a harmonic instrument and percussive instrument.
With all the great points and sounds of Obscure Knowledge I can only give it a 4/5. The album could of been a little longer and perhaps had a few more time signatures and rhythmic changes.