"A maximal minimalist masterpiece." Prog
"Beautifully crafted instrumental music of the highest standard." Postcards From The Yellow Room
"Guapo take classic prog tropes and revivify them...brazenly and gloriously, it brandishes all the hallmarks of golden-era prog rock, but given a steroid boost and stripped of ego."
"The foursome's sound is fashioned from coordinated chaos, discordant harmony, stimulating but dark auditory shades and graphic musical de-construction." Audiophile Audition
"...continues the upward trajectory of development for the band...this is a killer of a progressive work..." DPRP
"[Guapo] are conversant with the complex language of R.I.O...their trick is to add an urgent, assertive rock dynamic, which wrests their knotty harmonies and shifting time signatures from the sphere of contemporary classical chamber music towards something direct and gutsy." Prog
Celebrating 20 years in the game, the much-admired instrumental, experimental rock band Guapo are celebrating by releasing Obscure Knowledge, their explosive new album and tenth release!
The group started their life as a heavy bass/drums duo playing post-hardcore, noisy rock, but in the two decades since, they have expanded their instrumentation and their stylistic references to become one of Europe's most highly respected 'muscular and modern' experimental/progressive rock bands.
Centered around founding member and extraordinary drummer David J. Smith, the group on the album also features three additional heavy-weights of British experimental rock:
Kavus Torabi-guitar (also of Knifeworld, Cardiacs, Gong)
Emmett Elvin-keyboards (also of Chrome Hoof, Knifeworld)
James Sedwards-bass (also of Thurston Moore Baand, Chrome Hoof)
The album's 43 minute long track is a dynamic, fluid beast that takes the listener on a scenic journey through loud New York minimalism, celestial drones, avant rock, kosmiche-noise, rockin' riffs and way beyond.
Smith, who is also a sculptor as well as drummer, looks after the aesthetic considerations of Guapo and is keen to provide a backstory for their albums. Smith explains: "The title of the piece of music and album is derived from the psychoactive rituals of various Native American people who are said to 'tap into obscure knowledge' when performing certain rituals and rites of passage."
HISTORY OF THE VISITATION
"With 'History of the Visitation', Guapo have made a modern progressive record that emphasises not only their formidable talents but also their place at the top of the experimental rock tree at the current time. Its obtuseness will not be for many, but for those who choose to take on the journey, this is a record that is sure to reveal many wonders over consistent listening." Stereoboard
"When listening to instrumental rock groups like Guapo, I realize how broad is that term “instrumental rock” because it can connote prog rock, art rock, fusion jazz, post-rock, experimental rock, kraut rock and avant-garde. And within the span of three songs making up one album, this four-piece band’s sweep encompasses all that, and then some.... The paradox of a band playing so loose while so tightly together is almost a lost art these days, but Guapo has got that down pat.... In the wide field of instrumental or progressive rock, these are the guys at the part of the spectrum who seem least concerned about commercial impact. That’s the very reason why fans of the purer, more adventurous forms of the style should be paying close attention to them and their latest album, History Of The Visitation." Something Else Reviews
Prepare yourself for an experience that’s simultaneously otherworldly and assaultive. On paper, the music of Guapo reads like a riddle the British quartet’s sound is based around ideas like controlled chaos, atonal harmony, uplifting darkness, and beautiful destruction. Nothing about the band or their work seems to adhere to even the most open-minded set of preconceptions about the meaning of umbrella terms like “rock,” or “progressive,” or even “experimental.” But when you abandon the need to reconcile any of these concepts with each other, and simply let their latest album, History of the Visitation, speak for itself, everything becomes radiantly clear.
History of the Visitation is the ninth album from the forward-looking foursome. This album finds them following through on the kind of epic constructions that sprung forth from their albums like Five Suns and Black Oni. The record is dominated by the 26-minute tour de force “The Pilman Radiant,” offset only by the 11-minute journey “Tremors from the Future” and the considerably more compact sonic sculpture known as “Complex #7.”
The band currently comprises drummer and founding member David J. Smith with mainstays Kavus Torabi (Cardiacs, Knifeworld) on guitar and James Sedwards (Nøght) on bass, joined by recent addition Emmett Elvin (Chrome Hoof, Knifeworld) on keyboards.
In addition to the new studio album, both the CD and LP versions include a live DVD of the group from their 2006 and 2007 USA and European tours. This is the only live footage of the band available to the public and features former member Daniel O'Sullivan of Ulver and Sun 0. Only 300 copies are available from us of the high quality vinyl pressing, which comes in a stunning gatefold jacket and which includes the DVD and a digital download card.History of the Visitation press release
Five Suns is Guapo’s most apocalyptic and dynamically accomplished work to date, bringing a new sense of sonic and spatial awareness to the band's trademark sensibilities of complex song structures, harmonic atonality and percussive mantras. The Five Suns makes use of vintage equipment such as Fender Rhodes, mellotron, Moogs and gongs to create a colour-saturated patchwork of epic, primordial beauty. The new instrumentation has allowed their sound into more ambitious vistas, where progressive influences are turned on their head by both the infusion of hardcore rock energy and the use of hypnotic, trance-like repetition. Over the course of the 46 minute title track, as well as the two additional pieces on the album, the manic jazz-inflected drumming, brooding zeuhl bass and pointillist keyboards maintain a relentless driving momentum while deftly negotiating a carefully controlled ebb and flow.
"...sipping from the same dark chalice that intoxicated Lark’s Tongues era King Crimson..." - The Wire
Five Suns press release
Obscure Knowledge press release
History of the Visitation press release
Five Suns press release
Five Suns press quotes
pre-2005 press quotes