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Univers Zero - Uzed CD (album) cover

UZED

Univers Zero

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.29 | 211 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars This enchanting labyrinth of sound is solidly built and yet easily navigable. I loved it the first time I heard it, and each hearing since has yielded surprising shifts, like those topiaries in Stephen King's The Shining- surely that wasn't there all the other times, was it? These five instrumentals offer an incredible degree of compositional variance despite all of them sharing a common sound. Uzed is a fantastic work, and is certainly one of my favorites from this box of chocolates genre.

"Présage" The opening minute of this piece is hauntingly good. It rises out of the misty ether of silence and quickly attracts the attention of discord and volume. The main riff is dynamic and offers a great deal, chugging along underneath some brilliant lead instruments. The heavy instrumentation wizens away, leaving a lonely piano. Soon the most symphonic opportunity of the album arrives, full of vigor and wondrous melodies.

"L'Etrange Mixture du Docteur Schwartz" Working with some incredibly imaginative chord progressions, this piece alternates between a sinister rhythm section and whimsical woodwind interruptions before both collide in a frantic display. Growling, almost hungry bass is teased by the higher, capricious instruments, like insects and birds prancing around just out of a beast's reach. The concluding piano chords are very reminiscent of "Schooldays" from Gentle Giant.

"Célesta (for Chantal)" Woodwinds and piano provide more inspired music, but this time it carries on in a more reserved fashion. It is not until the two minute warning that nightmarish tones impress themselves upon the peaceful slumber of music.

"Parade" Like the titular event, this piece is at once fanciful and purposeful, moving at a brisk but stumbling pace. Eventually it becomes very graceful. Overall, I'd say the composition is interesting because like a parade, there are really no recurring parts- as it progresses down the street, there's something new and exciting to behold, and that's exactly what this piece pulls off.

"Emmanations" Hovering like an ominous UFO over a large city, the beginning of this lengthy work uses dishearteningly minimalistic atmosphere before becoming welcoming and inviting. Eventually it locks into a grim, expertly-crafted rhythm. The group extracts all conceivable mileage from that rhythm, until around eleven minutes in, when a bright cacophony bursts in, assuming command. The conclusion involves sounds straight out of a lonely and quiet science-fiction epic, with repetitive but hushed electronic and spacey noises, and what sounds like the garbled communication of some alien life form.

Epignosis | 5/5 |

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