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Cyclic dream

KEITH BRAMICH listens to another disc from crossover group Univers Zero

Cuneiform    rune 165

Univers Zero - rhythmix. © 2002 Daniel Denis

Earlier this year I wrote about 'Crawling wind' -- a release from the classical / rock crossover group Univers Zero. Faster than the (crawling) wind, they came back to us with their latest release, called Rhythmix, in the same unique dark style and with the same imaginative mix of instruments. If you liked Crawling Wind, you'll probably like this one too, and the group now have ten CDs on the market -- all on the same label, Cuneiform Records.

The album begins with a bright, loud, rock-type number called Terres Noires with Celtic and French influences. The relaxed central section has a different mood. Rêve Cyclique has a more electronic feel to it -- at least until the flute entry. It throbs and pulsates, like a junk of debris spiralling through space. The feeling remains throughout the track, whilst the instrumentation shifts several gears.

A timpani solo with percussive effects turns into a troubadour number -- a track that could almost be early music, and this is followed by The Invisible Light [listen -- track 4, 1:10-2:07] with a beautiful oboe solo from Michel Berckmans (joint composer/arranger with Daniel Denis for this and two other tracks). Phobia is an appropriate name for a rather disjointed rock number, with unusual effects. Then there's Zorgh March -- slow and menacing with heavy percussion, but with a strong theme that pulls us high up above what might otherwise seem drudgery.

Zébulon has a kind of 'insects and machines' feel. Forêt Inviolée (Secret Forest) conjures up just that -- a mysterious dark wooded space with strange insects and crying birds (cor anglais). Shanghaï's Digital Talks is a rather odd, stabbing, ungainly piece with lots of power and percussive sounds. Emotions Galactiques doesn't quite live up to its grand title.

Waiting For The Sun is powerful, plaintive and disturbing with a feel of large empty spaces. It has another oboe solo, lots of reverb and an accompaniment of bells and other percussive sounds and noises. The Fly -- Toxmen's Land [listen -- track 12, 2:03-2:56] is a rock drumming number -- loud, repetitive and mesmeric, with the notable (and at one point quite wild) trumpet of Bart Maris.

The CD, on which Daniel Denis's troupe play with obvious dedication, finishes with a tiny repeat of Rêve Cyclique, fading back in for just a few seconds, and then out again -- presumably to send us away with the sound of that cyclic dream, tumbling on through the cosmos ...

Copyright © 10 August 2002 Keith Bramich, Worcestershire, UK


Univers Zero - rhythmix

rune 165 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 53'00" 2002 Daniel Denis

Michel Berckmans, oboe, cor anglais, bassoon, voice; Aurelia Boven, cello; Ariane De Bievre, flute, piccolo; Daniel Denis, drums, percussion, all keyboards, harmonium; Dirk Descheemaeker, bass clarinet; Bart Maris, trumpet; Eric Plantain, electric bass; Christophe Pons, acoustic guitar; Bart Quartier, marimba, glockenspiel; Louison Renault, accordion

Terres Noires (Blacklands); Rêve Cyclique; Rouages: Second Rotation (Cogwheels: Second Rotation); The Invisible Light; Phobia; Zorgh March; Zébulon; Forêt Inviolée (Secret Forest); Shanghaï's Digital Talks; Emotions Galactiques (Galactical Emotions); Waiting For The Sun; The Fly-Toxmen's Land; Rêve Cyclique (reprise)



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