Guapo's core lineup on this album is the duo of drummer Dave Smith and bassist/guitarist Matt Thompson, joined on half the tracks by guest musicians on either saxophone (Caroline Kraabel, John Edwards) or miniMoog (Andy Thompson). Despite the limited lineup, this is still a fairly diverse album of loose-limbed, often catchy instrumental prog rock with Eastern European overtones and a few free jazz touches. A couple of the songs, "Sakura" and "Mountain of the Five Elements" (which gets reprised in the 16-minute closer "El Topo"), follow simple, almost march-like rhythms, while others, such as "Five Cornered Square" and the brief, distortion-heavy "Ten Years of Heisei," get into a more convoluted prog-noise vein comparable to Ruins (although Guapo tends not to get quite as complex or busy as those guys, opting instead to leave a little more breathing room in the songs). In addition to some memorable tunes, there is also plenty of excellent instrumental work, including Smith's manic drum soloing on "Zero for Conduct" and Kraabel's John Zorn-evoking alto sax blowing on a couple of tracks. All in all, an enjoyable album that should appeal to more than just die-hard prog rock followers.
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