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Three years have passed since Black Oni (Ipecac). Four years since Five Suns (Cuneiform). The new album by Guapo is finally here and thus concludes the recondite triptych. Each record has taken on new musical hues and offered disparate ideas and perspectives. However, an upheaval in the line-up, which has been anchored most recently by Daniel O'Sullivan, Matthew Thompson, and David Smith, triggered a change in course when Thompson left the band just prior to the release of Black Oni in 2005.
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 (Mimicry). O'Sullivan's work with AEthenor (VHF), Mothlite (Southern), Grumbling Fur (Aurora Borealis) 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 for which he made a soundtrack with O'Sullivan and Antti Uusimaki under The Stargazers Assistant moniker. Smith also plays with members of Coil, Cyclobe and Shockheaded Peters in the Amal Gamal Ensemble. Despite these distractions, Guapo has maintained their focus, and Elixirs has been three years in the making. It is unequivocally their most poignant and powerful work to date.
The album transcends any musical antecedents for which Guapo have been acknowledged in the past. Instead, the music here explores the outermost regions of psychedelic composition. Flickers of Popol Vuh, This Heat, Magma, Third Ear Band, Moondog, and early-'70s Miles Davis are present, as the dense orchestration and finespun virtuosity create a richness previously hinted at but until now never fully realized. On Elixirs, Guapo have opened a secret vault of treasures where jewels of sulphurous green and ashen blue blossom dwell, and springs of fire feverishly burst through a vista of golden chrysoberyls. Let the ceremony commence.