Friday, July 3, 2015

Present - 1993 - C.O.D. Performance

C.O.D. Performance

01. Love Scorn – 9:25
02. Alone 1 – 14:41
03. Alone 2 – 24:57

- Roger Trigaux / guitar, vocals, percussion
- Reginald Trigaux / guitar, vocals, percussion

When Roger Trigaux decided to resurrect Present 8 years later, it was first in a quite different form, as a duo with his son, guitarist Reginald Trigaux.

Formally, this third album consists of three long tracks, the second of which is an instrumental piece. However, there are no pauses between compositions, and it’s impossible to fix the beginning of the second and third of them.

Furthermore, all the arrangements on the album are in the state of constant and logical development, and each composition here is actually the part of the same monolithic epic. “COD Performance” is an album of a completely uniform stylistics representing nothing else but a unique acoustic RIO with elements of electric RIO and guitar Art-Rock.

Even though there is little in common between this music and that on any of the other “Present” albums, all the central hallmarks of the band’s creation: high complexity, dark and mysterious atmosphere, the intensity and depth of arrangements, etc are more than merely evident here. While the heavy guitar riffs and the parts of percussion are featured on any of the three compositions on “COD Performance”, most of the arrangements here are nevertheless based on the interplay between either two acoustic guitars or acoustic and electric guitar. And you won’t be able to imagine what an amazingly rich sound this highly profound and interesting album has until you hear it.

The vocals by both Roger and Reginald (in English) are present only in the beginning of “COD Performance” and closer to the end of it, though they’re great and greatly fit this outstandingly original music. While singing is a rare thing concerning such a specific genre as RIO, the presence of vocals and vocalizes on this album looks more than simply defensible, as they always meet surrounding musical events.

Present - 1985 - Le Poison Qui Rend Fou

Le Poison Qui Rend Fou 

1985 studio album:

01. Le Poison Qui Rend Fou (Part 1: Ram Ram Va Faire "Pif Paf")
02. Ersatz
03. Le Poison Qui Rend Fou (Part 2 : Didi, dans Ta Chambre!)
04. Samana

Bonus CD: Livry-Gargan, France, January 23, 1982

01. Quatre-vingt Douze
02. Ersatz
03. Le Poison Qui Rend Fou, Part 1
04. Chaos Hermétique
05. Promenade au Fond d'un Canal

Roger Trigaux - guitars, Fender Rhodes piano
Ferdinand Philippot - Bass ( studio album)
Christian Genet - Bass (Livry-Gargan, France)
Alain Rochette - Yamaha CP-80 Electric grand piano, piano, synthesizer
Marie-Anne Polaris - vocals
Daniel Denis - percussion

Present’s second album is a bit more of the same than its debut: dark, sombre, macabre , sinister and one can say gothic in a way. The group comes back with a slightly changed line-up: Ferdinand Philippot is now handling the bass duties, but the change is minor. The artwork is plainly sinister but with a touch of romantic inspiration and fits the music quite well.

Starting of with an epic 15 min+ first part of the title track, featuring an operatic-voiced guest vocalist, Present plunges again on a metronomic groove with the two pianos helping out a great deal and a lenghty trip is undertaken through the insane meanders of Trigaux’s mind. A shorter Ersatz is reminiscent of Belew era-Crimson, and definitely more upbeat and almost joyful compared to the habitual stuff.

The almost 10 min second part of the title track (on the second side of the vinyl), is the logical follow-up to its debut, but is totally instrumental. The closing 9 min Samana (Rochette-penned) is not much different but not quite as dense and might be a little clumsy in its middle section, but it remains in the mould.

Not an easier than the debut album, and just as difficult to recommend, these first two albums are uncanny oeuvres that must be heard by every proghead, but most likely, if they do not like adventurous and partially un-melodic prog, repulsion or rejection will be an understandable reaction. But if you can persevere with Present, soon the full merits of the music will open a new world.

Present - 1980 - Triskaïdékaphobie


01. Promenade au Fond d'un Canal
02. Quatre-vingt Douze
03. Repulsion

04. Dense {*}
05. Voulez Temps en la Saurez voulu {*}

- Roger Trigaux / guitars, pianos
- Alain Rochette / pianos, synths
- Daniel Denis / drums, percussion
- Christian Genet / bass

 {*} { Live at Halles de Schaerbeek, Brussels, February 28, 1981 }

Present started as an offshoot project of Univers Zero with both Roger Trigaux and Daniel Denis, but Trigaux was not to return to back to the mother group. The band’s music is incredibly somber (sinister is also appropriate) as it was on Univers Zero but here the music is electrified, more energetic and “relatively” more constructed. The vast majority of this debut is written by Roger Trigaux who oscillates constantly between the piano to a searing guitar.

Just three tracks on this album, one of which is simply the most representative track of Present’s Oeuvre: the side-long 19 min+ Promenade Au Fond D’Un Canal. With an incredibly ever changing rhythm pattern but constantly sinister and metronomic-quality (almost repetitive to be minimalist, but this would be misleading) groove and helped out tremendously by Rochette’s piano, this track is riveting, tense from beginning to end. The 15 min+ Quatre-vingt Douze is based much on the same pattern but reminds you of John Cale and Terry Riley’s superb album Church Of Anthrax. Last but not least is a short Repulsion (a collaboration between Trigaux, Denis and bassist Genet) that has problems finding its place next to the other two “epics”, but is highly atmospheric.

A complete meltdown of wonderful insane, beyond brilliant stuff!

Daniel Denis - 1993 - Les Eaux Troubles

Daniel Denis 
Les Eaux Troubles

01. Les Portes – 7:13
02. Stratageme – 3:22
03. Deploration Funebre Mais Non Destinee Aux Morts – 4:38
04. Petit Choral – 1:20
05. Electronika Mambo-Musette – 5:27
06. Coeur De Boeuf – 2:37
07. Opus Rictus – 4:59
08. Histoire Belge – 1:36
09. Bulgarian Flying Spirit Dances – 5:43
10. Rumeurs D’En Bas – 3:00
11. The Devil’s Kitchen – 2:01
12. Second Presage – 8:09
13. Histoire Belge (Reprise) – 0:38

- Daniel Denis / drums, percussion, keyboards, noises
- Francois Garny / bass
- Guy Segers / bass
- Pierre Vervloesem / guitar
- Andy Kirk / piano, guitar
- Dirk Descheemaeker / clarinet, bass clarinet, Soprano saxophone
- Michel Massot / bass tuba
- Daniel Stokart / Alto saxophone
- Jan Kuijken / cellos
- Jean-Pierre Catoul / violin
- Bart Quartier / marimba

For his second solo album in a two year gap, Daniel Denis invited more “friends” and this guest list reads a bit like a who’s who of experimental rock in Belgium. Catoul is now defunct but was a good violinist, Segers of course an ancient UZ and Present alumni, Vervloesem is the guitarist leader of those crazy X-Legged Sally, and more…. Without forgetting future-UZ members Kuiken and Descheemaeker.

Unlike the previous album, the tracks are shorter and some suggest a bit of humour something almost inconcievable with such somber music still very much in Univers Zero mould. This is the most musically diverse and probably the most personally revealing work of this remarkable composer and performer.

The two lengthy tracks that open and (almost) close the album are closest in style to Univers Zero, and in between them he lets his muse run free and pays homage to some of his influences. ‘Coeur de Boeuf’ – literally translated ‘Heart of Beef’ is a deftly executed tip of the hat to another great individual stylist, Captain Beefheart, and features some nimble marimba playing from future Univers Zero member Bart Quartier. ‘Bulgarian Flying Spirit Dances’ draws heavily on the East European composers who are an obvious influence on his work, particularly Bartok. ‘Opus Rictus’, despite the sombre title, is almost playful, propelled along by bass tuba and some agreeably daft massed voices. Denis’ drumming is impeccable throughout, and he coaxes superb performances from all his guests. Jan Kuijken on cello and Dirk Descheemaeker on clarinet make particularly fine contributions.

Whilst it’s not exactly easy listening, this is probably the most accessible of Denis’ work to date.

Daniel Denis - 1991 - Sirius And The Ghosts

Daniel Denis 
Sirius And The Ghosts

01. Beyond The Mountains – 10:04
02. A L’Ombre Du Zed – 8:07
03. Eastwave – 5:38
04. Sirius – 6:56
05. Strange Twist – 7:41
06. Fete Souterraine – 7:15

- Daniel Denis /drums, percussion, keyboards
- Frederic de Roos / recorders
- Dirk Descheemaeker / soprano saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
- Michel Hatzigeorgiou / bass
- Jan Kuijken / acoustic and electric cellos
- Michel Hatzigeorgiou / bass
- Frederic DeRoos / recorders

Daniel Denis’ solo albums provide a kind of continuity after the break up of Univers Zero in 1986. “Sirius and the Ghosts” picks up where “Heatwave” left off, and sees Denis further exploring the possibilities of electric keyboards. The compositional style is very much in keeping with “Uzed” and “Heatwave”, featuring just six comparatively long tracks with the trademark time changes and doom laden atmosphere.

The strongest pieces on the album are those which come closest to being a full band performance – “Beyond the Mountains” and “A L’Ombre Du Zed” are extremely strong, with the brilliant reeds player Dirk Descheemaeker adding some real colour and the low end of the sonic palette being complemented by cellist Jan Kuijken and bassist Michel Hatzigeorgiou.

For Univers Zero fans there is plenty to enjoy on this album. It’s a solid, well crafted piece of work that is unmistakably in the same style. Denis’ drumming is as powerful as ever, and he acquits himself respectably on keyboards.

Univers Zero - 2014 - Phosphorescent Dreams

Univers Zero 
Phosphorescent Dreams

01. Shaking Hats
02. Rêve Mécanique
03. Très Affables
04. Vocation
05. Les Voleurs d'Ombre
06. L'Espoir Perdu
07. Phosphorescent Dream

- Kurt Budé / clarinet, bass clarinet, alto and tenor saxophones and percussion
- Daniel Denis / drums and percussion
- Dimitri Evers / electric and fretless bass
- Nicolas Dechêne / electric and acoustic guitars
- Antoine Guenet / keyboard

Guest musicians:
- Nicolas Denis / drums and percussion (3)
- Hugues Tahon / trumpet (2, 6 & 7)
- Adrien Lambinet / trombone (2 & 6)

 Univers Zero's, 2014, " Phosphorescent Dreams", makes it quiet clear, from start to finish, how well this ensemble has aged for good. This release will even challenge the band's close followers, by striking some brushes of a somewhat, not very Univers Zero's commonly known musical language. But as all true owners of an own musical idiom, this "new" approaches never, not even by chance, lose their "trademark" dark intentions.

So, to cut things short, expect a very strange and hypnotic tour, through a bombastic deep bitter-sweet obscure beauty. Tainted with "free-Jazz", some "happy melodic lines" here and there, splashes of very "heavy" electrics and subtle solos, "medieval-like intros and passages", a couple of piano based songs, marvelous instrumental arrangements and intelligent compositions full of extraordinary and daring ideas. All matched up with highly inspired performances by each member of this re-modeled version of the, somewhat movable, musicians involved under this band/name, to bring everything into perfection.

I myself, have been listening to it intensely for the past weeks and it only gets better, and more difficult to turn down, each time I play it. I know myself, and what really turns me on. This Univers Zero, 2014 realease, is one of those things

Univers Zero - 2010 - Clivages

Univers Zero 

01. Les Kobolds (4:15)
02. Warrior (12:10)
03. Vacillements (3:35)
04. Earth Scream (3:11)
05. Soubresauts (7:59)
06. Apesanteur (3:40)
07. Three Days (5:53)
08. Straight Edge (13:57)
09. Retour de Foire (7:42)
10. Les Cercles d'Horus (3:45)

- Michel Berckmans / bassoon, english horn, oboe, melodica
- Kurt Budé / clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax
- Pierre Chevalier / keyboards, glockenspiel
- Daniel Denis / drums, percussion, sampler
- Dimitri Evers / electric and fretless bass
- Andy Kirk / guitar (2, 5), percussion (2)
- Martin Lauwers / violin

- Nicolas Denis / drums (10)
- Philippe Thuriot / accordion (1, 10)
- Aurelia Boven / cello (10)

Univers Zero perform chamber rock music. Interestingly there are many variations on what constitutes this genre. And a great deal of these varaitions are featured here. Clivages has material from four of their members, leader, drummer and main-stay rock of UZ, Daniel Denis contributes four pieces, reed playing long term associate Michel Berkmans provides three, fellow horns and reed player and relative newcomer to the revolving door of UZ Karl Bude contributes two. The last is by the man who creates the darkness in UZ Andy Kirk. He contributes guitar (usually keyboards) on his Warrior and Denis; Soubresauts.

This music overall is as about as far from rock as one can get. Really it is modern classical. The instrumentation is drums, basson, clarinet, violin, keyboards, bass and some guitar.

If you like atmosphere, if you like imaginative music and where it can take you as you respond accordingly then Clivages works and does just fine. You cannot dance, drive or do anything mundane to UZ music. But you can listen and let it take you to (most likely fairly nightmarish places.) The music can be quite intimate, it is very listenable, it can be quite symphonic too, less so than Rhythmix though. It is not really that predictable, mood changes in pieces happen. However with Andy Kirk's magnificent Warrior the oppressive terror that makes UZ's reputation is there. Complex, (they're all complex of course) and even more intense and longer than (all but Straight Edge by Karl Bude) Warrior is another Andy Kirk masterpiece.

Much is mentioned about weird music. Exactly what is weird? I find the idea of "listening" to dumbed down chart oriented pop to be weird, or society defining itself by fashion and soundtracks to this somehow allowing people a mandate to negatively judge others to be an odd thing to do.. I like freedom of choice and musical expression.

There are some melodies here that are rather nice. Apeasanteur by Michel Berkmans has some fascinating and intriguing melodies.

As a group of composers (as Clivages represents) they neverthelss manage a cohesive and unified album of some of the most beautiful, atmospheric, intense varied orchestral music to ever grace any genre. It ventures from the virtually medieval / modern (Three Days) to the depths of hell - Warrior. Elements of jazz (sax on Straight Edge and even near funk guitar, again on the colourful Straight Edge.)

Everything is original, no rock egos, no featured musician trips, none of that here - all serves this fabulous music. The recording and production match the playing, faultless. As an album it is one of those rare things, perfect. So how do I find fault to knock it the five stars? Have UZ repeated themselves? Have they found a formula since Rhythmix to mine plow and furrow? All is good. If Denis runs out of UZ inspiration (it happens too) then he calls it quits and does something else. Univers Zero exist to make music of this complex and dark beauty. And they do their music so well they make most in prog. rock sound like hamfisted incompetents. Sorry guys but the bar is raised.

Univers Zero record chamber rock and develop music of their origin. This does not sound like Rhythmix but both albums do sound like Univers Zero. It is not safe music, frankly I doubt if UZ when creating an album could play safe music. They undergo too much stress and need for artistic fulfillment to bow to the mundane values of commercial music. They have a reputation and Clivages enhances that reputation.

This is one of the more fascinating albums I've heard in a while and recommend it. It is subtle, dark, uncompromising. Oh yes and in places, like Straight Edge it rocks. It is a masterpiece of an album featuring some great talent. Cerebral and spiritual, melodic and aggressive, drenched in atmosphere and unpredictability; the menace in UZ's music is there and waiting around any corner.

When someone makes music of this quality I consider it an honour to part with a few miserable dollars for a copy of this. Considering what went into its creation buying a copy is hardly much effort. The rewards of this music last a lot longer than what popular music usually indicates as well.

A must for a progressive rock collection. A must for a classical collection.

Univers Zero - 2009 - Relaps : Archives 1984-1986

Univers Zero 
Relaps : Archives 1984-1986

01. L'Etrange Mixture du Docteur Schwartz
02. Presage
03. Parade
04. Ligne Claire
05. Emanations
06. Heatwave
07. The Funeral Plain
08. L'Etrange Mixture du Docteur Schwartz (free-style version)

Michel Delory - guitar (5, 6, 7, 8)
Daniel Denis - drums
Dirck Descheemaeker - soprano sax, clarinet, bass clarinet
Christian Genet - bass
Patrick Hanappier - violin, viola (5, 6, 7, 8)
Andy Kirk - keyboards (5, 6, 7, 8)
André Mergen - cello, alto sax, voice (1, 2, 3, 4)
Jean-Luc Plouvier - keyboards

Releases information
1, 2 and 3 - Recorded in March 31, 1984 at The Pavillon, Hannover, Germany
4 - Recorded in February 25, 1984 at Dottignies, Belgium
5 - Recorded in February 17, 1986 at Frankfurt Jazz Festival, Frankfurt, Germany
6, 7 and 8 - Recorded in October 9, 1985 at Centre Culturel de Seraing, Seraing, Belgium

Although presented as an archives compilation, this album could also be a live album since all the tracks were recorded live in a bunch of concert ranging from Feb 1984 until Feb 86, but somehow it also echoes the “Crawling Winds” EP that focused between 1981 and 83.

With its superb red-tainted fossil rock artwork, Relaps rehashes mostly material of “Uzed” and its successor “Heatwave”, in spite of a lengthy lapse of time where the band lay dormant, while Denis and Mergenthaler where active with Art Zoyd. Relaps is an essential piece of work showing that the band’s most exceptional moments were indeed live.

Roughly the disc is made of two main chunks of three tracks (In Hannover, Feb 84) opening and closing the album, with two selections making up the centre. The first chunk includes mostly tracks from Uzed and most notably the always-amazing “Présage”, which is still the cornerstone on which the second phase of Univers Zero sits upon. Equally interesting, “Parade” is a stunning piece that gains from its studio version. After excerpts of “Ligne Claire” watering the mouth, we are thrown into a brilliant rendition of “Emanations” in what became Univers Zero’s last concert for over a decade, the Frankfurt Jazz Festival.

Finally the last chunk comes from Seraing where the tracks are mostly from the future “Heatwave” album with the returning Andy Kirk in the fold and indeed both the 9-mins Heatwave and the 18-mins Funeral Plain are both outstanding versions (especially the latter) and to cap it all off, a short improv of Etrange Mixture.

Univers Zero - 2006 - Live

Univers Zero 

01. Xenantaya (12:53)
02. Civic Circus (7:33)
03. Electronika Mambo Musette (7:20)
04. Kermesse Atomique (6:04)
05. Bonjour Chez Vous (5:00)
06. Méandres (10:33)
07. Falling Rain Dance (8:53) *
08. Toujours Plus à L'Est (8:21) *

- Michel Berckmans / oboe, English horn, bassoon, melodica
- Kurt Budé / clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone
- Daniel Denis / drums, percussion
- Martin Lauwers / violin
- Eric Plantain / bass
- Peter Van Den Berghe / keyboards
Releases information

Cuneiform Records Rune 220, recorded 24th June 2005 at "Les Halles de Schaerbeek" Brussels, Belgique and * 18th June 2005 at "Le Triton" Les Lilas, France.

If Univers Zero has reunited by the late 90s, they were mostly not a touring group. But for their recent studio album Implosion, Daniel Denis not only wrote one of his most groundbreaking and spellbinding albums, but also decided to take the group on the road.

With a fairly different line-up of musicians compared to the Implosion album (most notably the absence of long-time member Descheemaeker), Univers Zero is simply brilliant and the musicians are clearly on the best level.

Univers Zero has never been a group of histrionics and shredding solos, but rather an incredibly tight group where improvisation is not absent, but tightly controlled still, keeping things concise and the listener awake.

The set list presented here is of course partly re-presenting the full show, but the selection is widespread throughout their discography, having chosen to feature only two tracks from their latest album, although not the shortest ones. Of interest is Electronica Mambo Musette, which sounds anything but mambo, but rather borrows on improv some of Ravel’s bolero.

There are very few bands active today doing the neoclassical/chamber rock thing anywhere near as well as these guys. For fans of the new incarnation of Univers Zero, Live is a no-brainer. For those who still prefer the earlier material, this album presents the new stuff in the most favorite possible light.

Univers Zero - 2004 - Implosion

Univers Zero 

01. Suintement (Oozing) – 1:13
02. Falling Rain Dance – 4:14
03. Partch’s X-Ray – 5:23
04. Rapt d’Abdallah – 3:01
05. Miroirs (Mirrors) – 1:19
06. La Mort de Sophocle (Sophocle’s Death) – 3:11
07. Ectoplasme – 1:07
08. Temps Neufs – 4:56
09. Mellotronic – 4:04
10. Bacteria – 1:28
11. Out of Space 4 – 2:53
12. First Short Dance – 0:43
13. Second Short Dance – 0:44
14. Variations on Mellotronic’s Theme – 3:05
15. A Rebours (In Reverse) – 1:56
16. Meandres (Meanderings) – 9:38

- Daniel Denis / drums, percussion, keyboard, samplers, accordion, guitar
- Michel Berckmans / oboe, English horn, bassoon
- Serge Bertocchi / saxes & tubax
- Aurelia Boven / cello
- Ariane De Bievre / flute, piccolo
- Dirk Descheemaeker / bass clarinet, clarinet
- Bart Maris / trumpet, flugelhorn
- Eric Plantain / electric bass
- Christophe Pons / acoustic guitar
- Bart Quartier / marimba, glockenspiel
- Igor Semenoff / violin

The thing that strikes most when looking at the track listing of “Implosion” is the sheer number of them (an unprecedented 16) and the average length. Once your album is inside your deck and spinning the shock comes right away: never had you heard such (and so much) synthesised/sampled music before on a Univers Zero album.

While the music may have evolved, the typical Univers Zero ambiances are still there and very much in the same spirit as before with the sombre but haunting atmospheres evoking the mysterious mid-east (somewhere between the Egyptian empires and the Sumerian era), but so much more. As one of the highlights, “Temps Neuf” or the lengthy finale “Meandres” are representing the classic Univers Zero.

Implosion is easily a 21st-century Univers Zero favorite. Most proghead should lend an attentive ear to the two Mellotronic themes but this album is must-hear for everyone enjoying challenging music.

Univers Zero - 2002 - Rhythmix

Univers Zero 

01. Terres Noires (Blacklands) – 6:09
02. Reve Cyclique – 5:58
03. Rouages – Second Rotation (Cogwheels – Second Rotation) – 3:39
04. The Invisible Light – 3:12
05. Phobia – 5:33
06. Zorgh March – 3:24
07. Zebulon – 3:13
08. Foret Inviolee (Secret Forest) – 2:20
09. Shanghai’s Digital Talks – 4:51
10. Emotions Galactiques (Galactical Emotions) – 5:47
11. Waiting for the Sun – 3:16
12. The Fly-Toxmen’s Land – 4:52
13. Reve Cyclique (Reprise) – 0:53

- Daniel Denis / drums, percussion, keyboards
- Michel Berckmans / horns and wind instruments
- Eric Plantain / bass
- Bart Quartier / marimba, other percussion
- Christophe Pons / accoustic guitar (# 1,3,5)
- Aurelia Boven / cello (# 1,5,9)
- Bart Maris / trumpet (# 6,10,12)
- Dirk Descheemaeker / clarinet (# 7)
- Ariane de Bievre / flutes (# 2)
- Louison Renault / accordion (# 1)

“Rhythmix” shows the band in fine form, repeating the formula that had been successfully invented in “Uzed”. The musics still seems to come out of the entrails of Earth with its dark and gloomy athmospheres full of near classical music but with a demonic/devilish drummer cadencing as you row your life away onto your king’s galley whipped if you start to weaken.

The first striking thing is the addition of so much extra instrumentation. The return of cello was nice, and flute and accordion were presented with a subtle enough touch as to be virtually transparent. The kickers, though, are trumpet and acoustic guitar. Christophe Pons’ guitar work on “Rouages: Second Rotation” is simply great.

The defining moment comes with the opening of “The Fly-Toxmen’s Land”. The trumpet’s arrival is absolutely jarring, which is fitting for such a brutal composition. New bassist Eric Plantain holds his own with spidery bass fingering against Denis’ rampant thumping, while the winds and percussion swirl around like dreams of angry lactating bats. Before long (making you wish it were longer), the whole thing shifts into a melancholic coda, with the trumpet resurfacing in a much less piercing fashion. Denis’ drums take on a more direct approach, with bass and keys repeating a daunting riff. Five minutes is just not long enough for this masterpiece.

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!

Univers Zero - 1986 - Heatwave

Univers Zero

01. Heatwave – 8:37
02. Chinavox – 4:53
03. Bruit Dans Les Murs – 8:27
04. The Funeral Plain – 20:22

- Michel Delory / guitar
- Daniel Denis / drums, percussion, voice
- Dirk Descheemaeker / clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano sax
- Christian Genet / bass, nailskake
- Patrick Hanappier / violin, viola
- Andy Kirk / piano, synthesizer, voice
- Jean-Luc Plouvier / piano, synthesizer, voice

The fifth Univers Zero studio album was to be the last for 13 years.

The album gets off to a strong start with the title track, composed by Andy Kirk. This is on a par with the best of early Univers Zero, and there is some excellent soprano sax from Dirk Descheemacker. Two shoter pieces follow, both composed by Daniel Denis. Chinavox is an effective piece of chamber rock which has the atmosphere of Univers Zero’s earlier work but which isn’t particularly memorable, while Bruit Dans Les Murs is a piece dominated by electric keyboards that actually sounds closer to Present or even Henry Cow on Western Culture. Denis’ drumming is outstanding on this track, and it points the way forward to his solo album Sirius and the Ghosts.

The second half of the album is taken up with the 20 minutes long The Funeral Plain, another Andy Kirk composition. There are some highly effective passages, and the use of synthesisers and electronic effects is an early foretaste of the kind of music that Univers Zero would create when they reconvened in the late 90s.