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.
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more