There must be a surrendering, from the very beginning, of any preconceptions about the progressive or avant-garde. Any frequenter of pop music will be entirely uncomfortable at every juncture, but that’s the point. We can’t apply pop necessities to music which is entirely uninhibited and seemingly uninfluenced, although that’s almost certainly not the case. The very concept of a song, which we have grown to understand as a concentrated form, carries no weight in this medium. These aren’t even moods or ambiences which can be deciphered through the modern understanding of music and human interaction.
A more appropriate take would be that these are swathes of creativity, unabridged and unapologetically vast. Opener, ‘The Pilman Radiant’, is a lumbering, prehistoric beast; meticulous and repetitive, purposely so. We get a circling of the frenetic sound, altering the prominent voice through wild guitar, bass and percussion. These are exo-sounds where the instrumentation is free from the restriction and dilution of structure, allowing ambitions to be as they are, not as they would be. There’s a metronomic aspect, not just in the percussive sense, but in the way that phrases seem to serially return with sequential arpeggios that feedback against swathing underlying intensity. All seem to be cast indistinctly into an abyss which achingly forms them together into a tangible, collective sound. And that is ‘The Pilman radiant’.
Their ideas have been defined as “controlled chaos” with dissonant sound somehow jarring yet almost resolving. Much of the listening experience is subconscious, and likewise, it seems that the music itself is subconsciously driven. It seems like human intervention hasn’t had any bearing, as though the barriers, and transparency, of conscious thought have been at least subdued. There’s a fundamental familiarity with the sound which perhaps goes beyond music as a means of entertainment and rather uses it as a tool for spiritual ceremony.
At times, and during second track, ‘Complex #7′, the connection to what we understand as music is indeed spurious. With electronic fizz punctuated by linear pulses as though the record were on ‘Stand-by’. Yet despite the lack of reference or context there is a fundamentally affecting quality, perhaps in the timbre of the undertones. ‘Tremors From The Future’ echoes, as much experimental/progressive music does, the preceding decades; reinterpreting an approach. But rather than repeating, or falling to cliché, Guapo take experimentalism into an exciting sphere. The stereo sound of the headphones begins to sway while the arpeggiated theme intertwines sub-plots laden with mute scratches, creating a deep 3D collage to comprehend.
Even the concept of what an album ought to be is challenged. Time’s influence seems fickle as the listener is immersed into the extra-terrestrial, multi-dimensional, the cyclic and the dissonant. Ninety-five minutes is filled (really filled) with six tracks that are typically diverse. But actually, diversity isn’t that typical is it? Originality in aspect and perspective that doesn’t cower under the far reaching umbrella of pop; and that’s the one thing that is exclusively human: The potential of art. From a sound which seems wholly inhuman, the very fact of its existence exemplifies the possibilities. Harnessing ambiguous sound and shaping it, weaving it together beneath others, applying the human element is what makes this ultimately beautiful. It is a maximalist, seismic event; almost inconceivable. Yet it was.
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