Friday, July 3, 2015

Univers Zero - 1999 - Hard Quest

Univers Zero 
Hard Quest

01. Vieux-manants – 2:54
02. Civic Circus – 4:42
03. Affinite – 5:54
04. Rouages – 5:54
05. News From Outside – 3:27
06. Rébus (To All Children) – 2:50
07. Kermesse Atomique – 5:37
08. Succcs Damne – 4:22
09. L’impasse Du Choléra – 1:51
10. Xenantaya – 10:39
11. L’oubli – 1:49

- Michel Berckmans / bassoon, oboe, English horn, melodica, piano
- Daniel Denis / drums, keyboards, percussion, melodica, voice
- Dirk Descheemaeker / clarinet, bass clarinet
- Igor Semenoff / violin
- Reginald Trigaux / electric bass, voice, acoustic guitar

After a 13 year rest Univers Zero rises again from its ashes. For the reunion, Michel Berckmans (an original member) came back and the son of another original player Roger Trigaux, Reginald (both father and son are in Present, another seminal and influential Belgian band that had made its triumphant return a few years before) joined on guitars.

The music on this album pretty much picks up where the group had stopped some thirteen years back adding up some ever somber drama to a very descriptive chamber rock . Again Bartok and Ives are the most audible influences here. The violin does not make a great impact on the music. Whatever vocals are on this album are strictly voices and recitations – no actual singing.

The compositions are tighter and more accessible than previous albums, almost as if Denis had written the album keeping in mind with the prospect of luring a new generation of potential fans. Texturally and compositionally, this is a very diverse album. The keyboard sounds generated include the now-reinstated harmonium, as well as organ (“Affintite”) and even harpsichord (“Civic Circus”). On “Vieux-Manants”, sparse bass drum and tambourine create a medieval feel, while other tracks feature tuned percussion (“Civic Circus”) and Denis’ traditional drum kit. Denis even loosens up to play a straight 4/4 on the middle-Eastern “Xenantaya”; always wondered if he could do that!

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