Exposé Online banner

Univers Zéro — Clivages
(Cuneiform Rune 295, 2010, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2011-06-01

Clivages Cover art

The word "darkness" is often prominently mentioned in descriptions of the music of Univers Zéro, and there are certainly aspects of this newest release that fit that mold. However, the predominance of clarinet, bassoon, glockenspiel, and violin in the arrangements often lends a lightness to the mood in spite of the jarring rhythms and dissonance. The opening track, "Les Kobolds," is positively bouncy, with only a slightly ominous ostinato in the low end of the piano hinting at the band's sinister reputation. Of course, that is followed directly by "Warrior," which is full of creepy noises and distorted bass notes thumping out beats that would sound at home backing a dark ritual in a horror movie. The moments of uneasy calm, where distant, indistinct sounds wallow in misty atmospheres, only serve to heighten the impact of the impending rhythmic outbursts. The band's combination of modern Classical music (Stravinsky, Bartók) with free improvisation and rock makes for a heady blend which is obviously not for everyone, but for those so inclined is a very tasty mixture. The musicianship and composition are of the highest order, no fumbling dilettantes here, and no reach-exceeds-grasp unrealized ambition — these guys (four of whom contribute compositions) have big, complex ideas and are perfectly capable of implementing them. Does it stand up to the albums that made their reputation? To my ear, it does; while it may be subtler, this is a sign of maturity rather than lack of ideas.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2010 releases

Related artist(s): Univers Zéro, Daniel Denis

More info
http://www.cuneiformrecords.com

Latest news

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Djam Karet - The Ritual Continues – Imagine a sound with the force and power of mid-period King Crimson, the fluidity and spaciness of Pink Floyd, and the percussive power of Peter Gabriel's Security. Throw into that mix a generous...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues