UPSILON ACRUX – Radian Futura

Cuneiform

This lineup of Upsilon Acrux comprises guitarists Paul Lai and David Moeggenberg, keyboardists Phil Cobb, drummer Chris Meszler and bassist Marty Sataman. Released in 2009, Radian Futura is the group’s fifth album and my first encounter with their work. Implacably verbose yet tight as a new pin, these guys mix a myriad of influences into a complex form of wholly instrumental rocking-surfing-and-hyper-blowing universe, aiming – in Lai’s words – to produce “unprecedented music”, more or less succeeding. The time spent practicing the scores is evident as the band plays with a rare blend of vigor and concentration that allows them to execute tricky intertwining lines with the same ease of a three-chord punk song; even in the 28-minute epic “Transparent Sea” the parts are so well seamed together that one would spitefully think about cut-and-paste editing. The initial “In-A-Gadda-DeVito” features a “broken record” section in which I had to check the CD player to make sure that it was not faulty. Fairly energizing and extra-convoluted stuff in typical Cuneiform style, then. However, this listener still prefers Curlew and Doctor Nerve, whose respective lyricism and sheer sonic balls live in his memory forever (of course this is not an obligation). An old quote by Lai in reference to a previous release says “we outdid King Crimson with our polyrhythms”. As self-ironic as the sentence can be – and I do think it is – let me just remind that a challenger may be dominating a fight on points but all it takes is a single punch by the champion – say, a tune like KC’s “People” (a 4/4, of all things) – to get knocked out cold.

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