Exposé Online banner

Guapo — Obscure Knowledge
(Cuneiform RUNE 404, 2015, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-07-12

Obscure Knowledge Cover art

One can always count on Guapo to deliver full-on at highest intensity, yet still embrace the subtleties and finest textural qualities that make their sound at once mesmerizing and profoundly psychedelic. Obscure Knowledge is one of those discs (there have been a couple before it) that is really just one long (in this case 43 minute) epic length cut, with multiple parts, but if one’s not watching the index on the player, you might have no idea where one section ends and the next begins. At times their extended groaning and growling dronescapes may seem very improvised, bordering on total chaos at times, but this amazing four-piece always comes out of it in some tightly composed way that just boggles the mind. The piece cycles through numerous phases of what begins as composed avant-progressive with hints of jazz-rock and perhaps a bit of metal, evolving through long stretches of free textural sound, based more on driving trance-like experimentation, sometimes gentle, sometimes quite brutal, but always keenly interesting. As with 2013’s History of the Visitation, bassist James Sedwards and drummer/keyboardist David J. Smith are on board, as well as guitarist Kavus Torabi (who also plays in his own band Knifeworld) and newest member Emmett Elvin on Hammond, Fender Rhodes, and synths, who – like other members of Guapo – is also involved in the avant-funk group Chrome Hoof. All taken, Obscure Knowledge is less about flashy playing and virtuosity, and instead about four composers who can work together to create something that frees the spirit and opens the mind.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Guapo

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

David Garland - Control Songs – David Garland is one of a rather small group of experimental singer/song writers. They are not cut from same bolt of cloth as, say, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell or James Taylor. Instead, Garland, along...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues