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Univers Zero - Crawling Wind CD (album) cover


Univers Zero



4.22 | 57 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
5 stars "Crawling Wind" was a 12" EP originally released in Japan only and limited to 1,500 copies. It was the only official release of theirs that had a live track on it until 2006 when they finally released a live record. This EP has since been expanded to a total of 42 1/2 minutes as they've added three more live tracks recorded between 1979 and 1984. After feeling let down by their live album I have to say i'm quite blown away by the live material here.This is what I was expecting on that 2006 release. Namely that intensity and darkness that really gets my blood flowing. A bonus with this EP is the detailed history of the band. This is by far the best biography that i've read about their beginnings. I'd like to relate some of that because it's important for those who may not know it.

Daniel Denis the leader and drummer of this band was invited to join MAGMA while he was playing in the band ARKHAM. This didn't work out too well considering Christian Vander and Daniel are both incredible drummers playing in one band. So after 2 months Daniel left , but he was greatly influenced by his involvement with MAGMA. Denis would join and tour with SUPERSISTER but did not record with them. He left them around 1973 and contacted Segers and Trigaux who along with some others formed a band called NECRONOMICON playing Jazz / Fusion. Eventually the band moved to a small town in Belgium and took to living communally. They devoted all their time and effort to rehearsing. Most of their financial assistance came from parents and spouses. It wasn't enough though as Segers recalls: "In fact we couldn't have another job and create music...we had to struggle. We worked years, day after day wondering "Today will I eat ?" it was really terrible. I heard stories from other bands like HENRY COW and MAGMA, and everybody struggled, but never did I hear anyone going through difficulties that we lived through". They changed their name to UNIVERS ZERO and performed their first concert under that name in in May of 1974. They would become aware of a band called ART ZOYD who were headquartered nearby in Northern France, and viewed them as kindred spirits. They often played together in joint concerts even playing as one large ensemble. "However it was the unusual, if not unique music of MAGMA that pointed the way to musical independence for UNIVERS ZERO. MAGMA's philosophy and music liberated UNIVERS ZERO, permitting them to follow their own music path.

"Toujours Plus A L'est" is a Denis composed track and is unusually bright for a UNIVERS ZERO tune.This sounds incredible though. I like the bass and drums after 2 1/2 minutes and of course the piano work is prominant. Lots of violin too. Lots of instruments are used on this opening track. "Before The Heat" is an Andy Kirk tune and is an eerie, dark and haunting song. "Heresie" comes to mind. The rest of the songs here are live. "Central Belgium In The Dark" is a group effort.This is dark and there's not a lot going on until it slowly becomes fuller. Great sound 8 minutes in as the drums pound and piano plays over top. Sounds like distorted bass too. Creepy choir-like sounds end it.

"Influences" is an Andy Kirk song and previously released on a record sampler. It opens with piano and we get a full sound before a minute including some clarinet and guitar. Violin before 2 1/2 minutes. "Triumphe Des Mouches" is from "Ceux Du Dehors" and is a Denis / Kirk composition. We get this repetitive rhythm as other sounds come and go. It turns eerie after 2 minutes. Percussion and drums before 4 minutes. The sound gets more intense and cello comes in after 5 1/2 minutes. An almost MAGMA-like rhythm around 6 minutes followed by dissonant cello. "Complainte" is a Denis tune that opens with aboe and we also get harmonium and bassoon.

I can't say enough about this album, it's what I expect and love about this band.

Mellotron Storm | 5/5 |


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