El Guapo - The Geography of Dissolution
It's strange when the first release you hear by a band is a live
recording. Usually live recordings presuppose some sort of rabid
fanbase, name-recognition, and an unfulfilled record contract. El
Guapo goes 0-for-3 on those counts. However, after listening to
"The Geography of Dissolution", it becomes apparent that none of
that matters at all.
El Guapo are a far cry from the standard indie rock / punk / hardcore
CDs we usually get here to review. They are much more indebted to John
Zorn than John Lydon. "The Geography of Dissolution" presents us with
23 tracks culled from two live shows in 1999 -- the only existing
recordings of El Guapo's eight months as a quartet.
The live recordings seem to be the perfect way to appreciate El Guapo.
They use accordion, keyboard, oboe, English horn, and glockenspiel in
addition to the standard guitar, drum, and bass, and the 23 songs on
this disc sound almost as if each song was being created as it is played.
And yet the songs are played so well and tightly that if they were
spontaneous compositions, it would seem difficult to believe.
El Guapo's experimentation reminds me heavily of John Zorn or even God is
My Co-Pilot's less punky moments. What you get on the Geography of
Dissolution is an hour's worth of free-jazz-punk ramblings that go
everywhere while staying in place.
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