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Univers Zero - Clivages CD (album) cover


Univers Zero



4.03 | 198 ratings

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5 stars Univers Zero - Clivages

Clivages is, as you have gathered the latest UZ release.

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.


uduwudu | 5/5 |


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