Guapo [Special]

Guapo [Special]

Prolific British experimental/prog/jazz/noise duo (and sometimes trio) Guapo has been releasing albums and EPs at a steady pace since forming in 1994. Despite often changing from one release to the next, or in some cases, from one song to the next, their style can loosely be described as playful and engaging -- especially for what the words experimental and prog rock often imply -- with basic reference points including France's Magma (whom they name checked in one album title) and Japan's the Ruins (with whom they recorded an album). Guapo's lineup has changed or been augmented several times, but the core of the band consists of bassist/guitarist Matt Thompson and drummer/percussionist Dave Smith. Other periodic full-time members have included bassist Rojer Macoustra (with the group from 1994-1996), bassist Pid (1996-1997), and Honkies saxophonist Caroline Kraabel (1999-2000).

In the interim O’Sullivan and Smith have been active with an abundance of other projects. Both members perform in the antique-prog band Miasma & the Carousel of Headless Horses. O’Sullivan’s work with Æthenor (Vhf Records), Mothlite (Southern Records), Grumbling Fur (Aurora Borealis Records) as well as moonlighting in the live line-up of Sunn O))) has been keeping him extremely busy. Smith created a large scale, multi media installation entitled “The Other Side of the Island” for which he made a soundtrack with O’Sullivan and Antti Uusimaki under The Stargazers Assistant moniker (the recordings of which were released on Aurora Borealis last year). Smith also plays with members of Coil, Cyclobe and Shockheaded Peters in the Amal Gamal Ensemble. Despite these distractions, Guapo has been maintained as a primary focus and “Elixirs” has been three years in the making. It is unequivocally Guapo’s most poignant and powerful work to date.

Guapo has self-released three EPs -- Hell Is Other People (1995), Guapo Is No More (1996), and Horse Walks Into a Bar (1996) -- and one full-length album, Towers Open Fire (1997), through their own Power Tools label before moving to the French Pandemonium imprint for a series of releases. These included the EPs Eat a Car (1997) and Guapo vs. Magma (1998) and the full-length CDs Hirohito (1998) and Great Sage, Equal of Heaven (2001), the latter of which was co-released for the U.S. by tUMULt. Yet another album, Death Seed, which was actually their third full-length, came out on Italy's Free Land in 2000. Keyboard player Daniel O'Sullivan joined Guapo for a collaboration with Cerberus Shoal in 2003. He became part of the trio line up heard on 2004's Five Suns and Black Oni released the following year.

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1997 - Towers Open Fire (Power Tool Records)
1998 - Hirohito (Pandemonium Records)
1998 - Guapo Vs. Magma
2000 - Death Seed (Freeland Records)
2001 - Great Sage, Equal of Heaven (Pandemonium/Tumult)
2003 - The Ducks and Drakes of Guapo and Cerberus Shoal (North East Indie)
2004 - Five Suns (Cuneiform Records)
2005 - Black Oni (Ipecac Records)
2008 - Elixirs (Neurot Recordings)

2006 - Twisted Stems (Aurora Borealis)

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