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Upsilon Acrux - Radian Futura CD (album) cover


Upsilon Acrux


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Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Radian Futura" is the title of the new Upsilon Acrux installment: this 2009 release is really exciting, certainly fresh and unequivocally powerful. I have just discovered this band in the last two weeks, but by now I'm a converted. Those who already are acquainted with and enjoy Don Caballero, 'In-A-Gadda-Devito' kicks off the album with a weird combination of (as paradoxical as it surely seems) finesse and roughness: the crazy, frantic twists that the track assumes right from the starting point are immaculately driven on the wings of the impossible rhythmic developments delivered by the drummer. The softer passages are somehow related to the experimental side of early Primus - this is an ultimate expression of intricacy at the service of humor. 'Prelude to Foreshadow'n' bears a more texturial drive as well as a heavier trreatment of teh guitar riffs, still the extravagant overtones abound gracefully. I kind of notice some Don Caballero relatedness in the way Upsilon Acrux handles the varying syncopated architecture in which the central riffs are ordained. Two shorter tracks follow: 'Landscape With Gun and Chandelier' states an agile dynamics that eventually gets excruciatingly neurotic for the last passage; 'Keeping Rice Evil' is less crazy, becoming a fine exercise on jazz-driven math rock. Now, track 5 is the monster piece - 'Trasparent Seas', which lasts 28+ minutes and bears the very ironic subtitle 'Radio Edit', is a tour-de-force that exemplifies the epic extremes of avant-garde rock. The colorful tension and menacing dynamics delivered by the exhaustive instrumentation take center stage right from the start, robustly flirting with the deepest ends of extravagance. At times, the synth creates some featured room for it to display some cosmic ornaments and caustic lines in order to add a spacey mood to the overall journey. Some elastic twisting moods are stated in a way that Zappa would have loved to include in the most bizarre passages of his 80s albums. Around the 10 , the spirit of a surreal circus takes hold of the general ambience and inspires the musicians to create a crescendo of merry folly. Once this momentary climax is over, it doesn't take long before the turn for an incendiary drum solo arrives. Chris Meszler is absolutely terrific. And so, the show goes on with this track, and it feels like the various motifs are filled with a more extroverted mood, albeit the experimental craziness remains intact in its uncompromising drive. Near the end, the band indulges in a couple of cacophonic motifs, in this way instilling a sophisticated tension that aims at being mesmeric in an aggressive way. The final moments with only drum kit, synth and bass cleverly complete the last guitar inputs. The album's closer 'The Infinitesimal Fractions of Ping & Pong' is a brief, eerie multiple guitars' soundscape installed on a rhythm machine - very krautrockish, indeed, yet with a post-rock nuance that makes it as dreamy as it is weird. "Radian Futura" is, at the end of the day, a delightful art-rock surprise that is there to be properly praised by all fervent lovers of experimental rock.
Report this review (#227355)
Posted Friday, July 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Beware! You are about to enter an entirely unmapped territory, an alien jungle of sounds and rhythms like you've never heard before, and if you don't turn around and flee after the first minute, your perception of music will be altered for ever.

Describing Upsilon Acrux' music may well be impossible, but let's try a few outlines : Around a barrage of percussion beating odd tempos, bass, guitars and keyboards weave an intricate and whirling web of contrapuntal phrases and harmonies. From this seemingly unorganized and chaotic noise, beautiful themes emerge, flourish for a few seconds, and then dissolve , usually destroyed by the artillery of drums. The chaos is only apparent : each note, you will feel, is carefully planned, written and skillfully played. Each track is a beautiful construction assembling dozens of moods and ideas, with key and time changes every few bars. And when you reach the end of the album (if you can, and surely not everybody will), you know that so many things have happened that you will need to listen to it again, and many times, before you can begin to apprehend it as a whole.

The art of Upsilon Acrux is simply stunning. Their music is difficult, uncompromising, radical, agressive. But if you're lucky enough to be able to enter this land, you'll discover so many beautiful landscapes you'll never want to leave again.

"Radian Futura" is certainly one of their finest achievements, but all of the above apply to everything this amazing band has produced, and so do my five stars.

Report this review (#2266779)
Posted Sunday, October 6, 2019 | Review Permalink

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