I really did know what to make of this album and on first play I rather suspected that it would end up in my rejects bin as being too far removed from the area of interest normally appreciated by us here at “Progplanet”. Of course experimental avant-garde music does, in almost every case, demand that the recipient listener needs to exercise a great deal of endurance whilst the crux, of what is being musically portrayed, is unraveled. Subsequently of course when there is an understanding of what the musicians intended it can then maybe eventually enjoyed. So in effect there is a time lag between the point of when you first hear the album right up to the point of recognition and understanding of what the music is all about. And here lies the rub; when it comes to reviewing an experimental album such as this, how much time can one then devote to listening and getting a true angle on what it is all about.
Generally, I see “Obscure Knowledge” as being an album that comprises a series of multi-textured layered sounds which slowly build up to form an apex of kinds and within which is embodied a mish mash of discordant notes cemented within a carpet of pulsating keyboard chord sequences. There are too several instances throughout the album when nothing much seems to be happening except for a kind of repetitive droning noise which seems to serve no purpose and then, as you listen on, a kind of re-ordering takes place which re-shapes the music to much more interesting levels with nice bursts of guitar and interesting keyboards runs, The drumming throughout is fantastic, full of energy and flair. There is no doubt that within the body of the various tracks there are elements of extremely fine musicianship, pace and the odd hint of melody. But likewise moments exist where simple repetitive note sequences meander on for what seems time immemorial.
Guapo, with their edgy jazz structures and sometimes aggressive projection I can see some slight comparisons with Softmachine, Magma, Henry Cow (and maybe Tangerine Dream) come to mind.
But quite honestly this is another album to play when the neighbors have overstayed their welcome. I might add that “Cuneiform Records” have propensity for supporting bands with experimental desires.
Summary: Experimental rock that needs time to devour.
Artwork: Interesting to a degree but fairly ordinary in presentation.
David J. Smith, Kavus Torabi, Emmett Elvin, Sam Warren.