Sunday, August 09, 2015

Guapo - Obscure Knowledge (Cuneiform, 2015)


Guapo is a band that melds progressive rock to jazz fusion and delivers a potent wallop of powerful electric music over the course one long performance broken into three long reference points, although I’m not sure what parts are composed and which are improvised. The group is made up of Kavus Torabi on guitar, Emmett Elvin on keyboards and synthesizers and James Sedwards on bass. “Obscure Knowledge Part I” is an enormous slab of music which may compare favorably with Sun Ra’s massive epic “Atlantis” or one of King Crimson’s spontaneous improvisations from their 1973 – 1974 period. This is instrumental rock and roll pummeling the music into heavy bombardment, before allowing some electric piano to push the music into more of a jazz fusion territory. There is a bit of a change of pace on “Obscure Knowledge Part II” as the musicians develop waves of hypnotic reverberating noise using guitars and keyboards as creators of textures and drones not traditionally found in rock or jazz. The album concludes with “Obscure Knowledge Part III” where there is a quieter and more dynamic section. Keyboards and drums eventually combine to develop an ominous percussive rhythm, building tension and even dropping a hint of sly funk into the proceedings. Then everyone comes together in a cyclone of noise blasting like a jet turbine faster and faster to the finish line. The cross between several different genres of music seems one of the major strengths of the band and keeps the music flowing in a manner that is highly detailed. The band seems to revel in this in-between space, creating challenging music that doesn't allow it to be easily categorized. Obscure Knowledge - amazon.com

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