Before questions are asked: no, this is not a weekly Cruel Nature Records digest. Then again, it might be, given the rate at which the Newcastle label release vital sounds, should we choose to ignore, then it would be flagrantly negligent on our part. It’s that simple.
While Charlie Butler is no stranger around these parts, his partner in crime, Upward, is a new comer to us. They may be a new comer to many, for there isn’t a shred of information about them or their previous body of work (if there is one). A composer behind the robe, making music for themselves. No bad thing.
Together they release a self-titled split, consisting of two 15 minute compositions that are likened to being launched into the furnaces of hell.
First up is Upward, who presents Fratres. Its beginning based on Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s piece of the same name, Upward quickly turns it into a deep night drone conceived from the killing floor. Tones fluctuate, creating a backdrop of horror and dread. This is drone scarred and bastardised.
Then there’s Butler’s piece, Hellgaze: a pieces that howls with metallic drones akin to twisted metal scrapping across the asphalt. It’s not unlistenable, though. Anything but, in fact, as Butler produces a warm sheen that glazes over the terror. A steaming marshland of sound. Think Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson sabotaging a Kevin Shields recording session.
Between Upward and Butler, they haven’t quite delved into the nightmarish realm occupied by Birchville Cat Motel and Aufgehoben. Granted, it’s not the most accessible release Butler has given us, but when you delve into his oeuvre, this release makes total sense, with Upward a worthy companion along for the ride. Belching scuzz and bowel juddering tonality. All in all, it’s enough to get the ears bleeding, too. In a good way, of course.
Upward / Charlie Butler is out next Friday via Cruel Nature Records. Purchase from Bandcamp.