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.
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more