Univers Zéro — Live
(Cuneiform Rune 220, 2005, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2006-05-01
I remember back in the day when I first heard Univers Zéro’s debut LP, I just scratched my head in bewilderment; what were these guys doing? It wasn’t until after hearing a couple live bootlegs by them that everything fell into place and made sense suddenly. So with that said, this ‘official’ live album is long, long overdue. The performances herein were taken from two of the band’s recent gigs in June 2005, and certainly represent the current lineup at their most intense and telepathic. Featuring clarinet, tenor sax, oboe, bassoon, violin, electric bass and keyboards, they are half rock band and half chamber ensemble, the two sides intertwined and interconnected by the spirited playing and compositions of drummer and bandleader Daniel Denis, keeping both sides of the band’s sound in a perfect balance. Univers Zéro is one of those rare bands who have no single dominant focal point; instead the focal point shifts around constantly as they play, one measure to the next, as the various players form ever-changing subgroups within the overall fabric of the sound. This set begins with their 13 minute barnstormer “Xenantaya”, and moves along through a number of mid-length tunes, most of recent vintage; Denis even offers a rare drum solo at the beginning of “Falling Rain Dance,” while the set closes with the lead-off track from the Crawling Wind EP “Toujours plus à l’est.” Essential listening from the masters of chamber rock.
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more