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UPSILON ACRUX

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Upsilon Acrux biography
Upsilon Acrux

What is Upsilon Acrux's music like? Well, here are some of the descriptions given to it:
Brutal-prog, math-rock, noise-rock, avant-rock and other such descriptions as:
"...free jazz and hardcore fusion dominated by an astonishing kind of Splatter Prog... inexhaustible musical invention, from high speed guitar and percussion pile-ups to free jazz blowouts and Ambient pieces interrupted by blasts of furious activity."
-The Wire
"...a refreshing ability to reference artists from Robert Fripp to John Coltrane with crushing irreverence. Maybe the last of the cool guitar bands."
-EXCLAIM! Canada
"...no vocals, for instance, no guitar solos (or any other kind of solos), and no "background" instruments. They write dense, hypercomplex tunes that are full of rapidly intersecting lines and lots of drums..."
- Will York, San Francisco Bay Guardian
"Technically brilliant, rhythmically unbelievable, with just the right amount of melody...for fans of avant rock and insane jazz rock." - Disagreement.net

Those are the positive reviews. Here is a not-so-positive one:
"Upsilon Acrux (and by the way, the name doesn't mean anything at all) are probably scaring the living daylights out of somebody who thinks 'avant garde' means the first Velvet Undergound album as we speak. Their angular, spluttering sound marks them apart from even the most alternative of mainstream music, but ultimately much as we may need this kind of stuff to exist, listening is a distinctly unpleasant experience."
Robert Crossan, www.bbc.co.uk/music

This band creates music that is as hard to describe as its accessibility to new ears and the complexity of its music. From album to album their sound has evolved and their lineup has changed; a trio of two guitars and drums in 2001's release Last.Train.Out, a 5 member lineup with two drummers, a moog player, a guitarist and bassist in the 2004 release Volucris Avis Dirae-Arum and then a quartet (two guitars, bass, drums) in the 2007 release Galapagos Momentum.

They take their inspirations from the innovation and experimentalism of progressive rock and jazz. Their music can be angular, dissonant, sometimes disharmonic and quite complex in structure and arrangement, with a minimalist sound or approach; it is usually tense and even nervous sounding, relentless and even aggressive. In spite of the minimalist sound, there is so much going on in each track, that it may make the listener fee...
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Radian FuturaRadian Futura
CUNEIFORM 2009
Audio CD$9.87
$4.34 (used)
The Last Pirates of UpsilonThe Last Pirates of Upsilon
Win Records 1999
Audio CD$19.99 (used)
Galapagos MomentumGalapagos Momentum
Cuneiform 2007
Audio CD$11.09
$4.96 (used)
Last Train OutLast Train Out
Daft Alliance
Vinyl$15.00
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UPSILON ACRUX discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

UPSILON ACRUX top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
In The Acrux Of The Upsilon King
1999
4.00 | 1 ratings
the Last Pirates of Upsilon
1999
3.00 | 1 ratings
Last Train Out
2001
3.90 | 2 ratings
Volucris Avis Dirae-Arum
2004
3.80 | 5 ratings
Galapagos Momentum
2007
4.83 | 4 ratings
Radian Futura
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
'white LP' (split: Honey Ride Me A Goat)
2009

UPSILON ACRUX Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Upsilon Live
2010

UPSILON ACRUX Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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UPSILON ACRUX Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

UPSILON ACRUX Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 the Last Pirates of Upsilon by UPSILON ACRUX album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.00 | 1 ratings

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the Last Pirates of Upsilon
Upsilon Acrux RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars This sophomore Upsilon Acrux album was released only 6 months after their debut, and so it seemed that the band had an infinite amount of material in store or was passing through a dementially creative period... or both. Together, "In The Acrux Of The Upsilon King" and "The Last Pirates Of Upsilon" sum up to almost 190 minutes of energetic experimental prog rock for contemporary times. This "Last Pirates" effor treveals that the band is convincingly persisting on their road toward the focalization of their eclectic ways into the math-rock-meets-RIO-meets-prog-metal-meets-kraut framework: indeed, the sonic deliveries are more expanding and more ambitious than in the already impressive debut release which I have mentioend earlier. "Numbquon" is a most urgent display of schizophrenic rock that comprises more tha nenough power in its short timespan. After the Zappa-driven joyful madness comprised in '45 Seconds' (an intriguing title, mmm...), 'Descension' settles in and states a delicious exercise on progressive chaos. The prologue is just crazy, the horn arrangements are catchy, there is a spectacular drum solo as well as a spacey-sounding bass solo, and also free-jazz moments followed by krautrock-inspired elaborations. Not surprisingly, the coda becomes yet another moment of furious chaos. After this track ends, we shouldn't head for the closest big sofa and rest because 'Swabin' the Deck' is not supposed to give us something calmer. It has an intense beginning, but the resulting creepiness is constrained by the rhythmic architecture that solidly brings a counterpoint to the inscrutable guitar and synth effects. The wicked and/or greyish moods that have been prevailing so far are complemented by the extroverted colorfulness of 'Random Denouncement', a piece that shows the warmer side of Upsilon Acrux. But this is Upsilon Acrux, of course, so the moments of warmth are not supposed to last too long - 'Modulation 4' is clearly focused on the ideology of noise and industrial- oriented krautrock, a defying exercise on cacophony and minimalism that includes a peculiar dynamics provided by guitar riffs and synth effects. 'Evening No Star' starts on a languid note that is closely related to the standard of post-rock's contemplative moods, but eventually an electric storm of dual guitars breaks in and Hell breaks loose all the way toward the brief coda. 'Attention, Applause, Silence' is an agile exhibition of pure math-rock, a precise statement of extroverted fire before the mysterious ambience of 'Dark Rainbow' arrives and installs a landscape of cosmic layers. pretty much like GYBE!-meets-Tortoise. This sequence of gloriously ethereal 11 minutes is followed by the tricky adventures of 'Metal Tweek (Desert Hesh/The Days Of Meth)', which conveniently bring back the band's colorful side. This albums goes on in permanent cycles, and so, the industrial factor returns incarnated in the mechanical atmospheres provided by '2-Pin Connection': this piece alone could be enjoyed as a thesis on the influence of Neu!-style kraut on the tradition of American 80s noise-rock. Sonic Youth anyone? Much of this band's influence is expressed 8at least, that's how I feel it) in the jam entitled 'Tortuga'. Before we forget the level of importance that chaos and free-form had impacted teh writign and arrangement of previous tracks in teh album, 'Nails Wine Dio' provides an electrifying exhibition of extremely demented art-rock: additionally, the cacophonic passages happen to be strangely catchy. This is a good way to end the "The Last Pirates of Upsilon" experience, teh album tha tshows Upsiolon Acrux in the core of its own impulse through the most experimental realms of contemporary prog rock. Excellent, really an excellent album.

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 Last Train Out by UPSILON ACRUX album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Last Train Out
Upsilon Acrux RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
3 stars There is little question about one thing: this album is a lot of fun. Whether you dig 'avant-garde' rock or not, Upsilon Acrux's Last Train Out is a blast. In fact as genres go, this one reminds more of Tortoise on good cocaine with Don Cab math brutalities than it does SGM or Daniel Denis. Constant change is the order here with staunch forward movement. Where it takes us at any given moment is anyone's guess. That's not to say UA's music is improvised. No, I see too much schema, too much deliberate thought for it to be simply freeform consciousness. However, it is spontaneous, and the dangers involved in such a venture are always present. But drummer Jesse Klecker and alternating guitar/bass teams including Cameron Presley and Paul Lai look that challenge straight in the face and never flinch, giving braver progheads something to smile about and offering catcallers who would surely point to this appalling waste of plastic as the very reason they avoid Avant prog a trophy of ill repute.

And I really can't blame them. The material here is challenging, or perhaps I should say a challenge insofar as it's as tedious to hear as it likely was to make. But figure all those Merzbow downloads or Univers Zero rips will come as handy preparation if you're a devoted & adventurous prog listener and if you're ready, Acrux could be a reasonable gateway drug to the more distant and absurd end of the progressive landscape. 'The Wack Art Deception' doesn't help matters though, opening on a slurry of frenzied stranglings. But 'Propeller' offers some metered rhythm for which we're grateful. This pattern of brazen invention saved suddenly by more traditional post-rock repeats throughout the 11-cut studio release as with 'AWOL', 'Plate Tectonics', and the electrical spiders of '45 Seconds(beez kneez)'. Industrial tours and number crunching for 6-minute 'Last Song', house beats of 'Intronics', and quiet complexities in 'If Only the Freight Train Could Join the Band', 'Twice the Tweak' and the closing number.

This album is raw. It's intense, and it's brave as hell. Either avoid it at all costs or find it used and add it to your "Maybe-I'll-listen-to-these-guys-someday" pile. And if you're into them already, I'd imagine this one should please thoroughly.

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 Radian Futura by UPSILON ACRUX album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.83 | 4 ratings

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Radian Futura
Upsilon Acrux RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator 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 ¾, 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.

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 Volucris Avis Dirae-Arum by UPSILON ACRUX album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.90 | 2 ratings

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Volucris Avis Dirae-Arum
Upsilon Acrux RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by chamberry
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars There's a new sound in the prog scene...

Upsilon Acrux are a fairly new band with a love for Progressive Rock. Actually, its not love - it's an obsession! Upsilon Acrux can be seen as those die-hard Star Wars fan boys that have the full collection of everything related to Star Wars and all they can do is talk about Star Wars and how much they've devoted their life to Star Wars. (No offense to Star Wars fans, just using them as an example) Those guys take the term fan boy to the extreme. Upsilon Acrux are pretty much the same, but instead of Star Wars its Prog Rock. They're into Prog Rock so much that they even called their debut "In The Acrux Of The Upsilon King"!

Here's my view on the band. On "Volucris Avis Dirae-Arum" Upsilon Acrux tried to make Prog Rock just like the 70's band where doing it, but their fanboyism (I know it's not a real word) mentality and perfectionism made them do Progressive Rock in its most excessive and extravagant form (in a good way). I'm not talking about bigger stage theatrics, longer epics, PhD concepts or even more pretentiousness, I'm talking about Prog down to its bare roots - the music.

Upsilon Acrux's music is very intricate and complex, and I mean VERY intricate and complex. They use their strange line-up as an advantage to make this kind of music. Their line-up on this album consist of two drummers, a guitar player, a bass player and a Moog player. The music is hectic and it doesn't like to stay in one place for more than 5 seconds so you'll have an idea of what to expect. Don't get me wrong, there are many moments that are accessible and easy to enjoy (like "The Court Of Zolex"), but their main focus is on their angular textures and dense collages of riffs and melody. It's cerebral, like taking a calculus class by headphones and you'll need to pay your full attention to fully grasp this or else you'll get lost in the madness. Their music can be seen as retro prog without the derivativeness that many people blame modern prog for.

It's dense, unforgiving and it won't go down without a fight. Upsilon Acrux are one of the new breed of bands that are taking complexity in music to a whole new level while having Progressive Rock as their musical base. These new bands are all labeled "Brutal Prog" and you'll know why they're named as such after you listen to them. "Volucris Avis Dirae-Arum" is a prime example of this new movement in the world of Prog Rock that mixes old school Prog with the über complexity these bands are known for (even though these guys are pretty unknown even in Prog circles).

One of the bands that are pushing the boundaries of Prog Rock while still being firmly rooted in the genre's sound. Highly recommended for adventurous Prog fans.

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