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Univers Zero - Uzed CD (album) cover

UZED

Univers Zero

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.29 | 210 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer
4 stars It appears as if Daniel Denis had transferred what he and ex-UZ guitarist Roger Trigaux had don in Present and took UZ into more conventional instrumentation and slightly more of an electric sound. And somehow within the context of Univers Zero, it still works. The main lesson to take from this is that Univers Zero can still summon very sinister atmospheres with the structure of the sound and band slightly different. There's no bassoon (the saxophones and clarinets can only compensate for so much), and the piano has an extremely larger role here than any other UZ album I've heard.

It's all about how tantalizing the opening motif is and how the band works with that motif throughout the song, which is exactly why the opening ''Presage'' track works so well. Take that innocent little piano line at the beginning and morph it into an explosive, fiery, throbbing piece of avant-prog that rivals Magma's most intense moments. Just listen to the intensity of ''Emmanations'' and try not to remind yourself of the most gorgeous moments in '70s Zeuhl music. And when the band does tone it down like on ''Celesta'', the moments of beauty are well orchestrated and give a convincingly serene mood until there are more explosions.

What I've learned from listening to UZED and listening to a few modern takes on RIO, I've realised one key thing about Univers Zero in general. Yes, they are very classical music based. Yes, they are avant-garde and proggy to the nth degree. Yes, they are quite anti-conventional and anti-commercial. But they don't let any of those traits get in the way of their music. Daniel Denis and company seem to know just how to write effective RIO works; there's no overcomplicating on any of the pieces nor are the pieces avant-garde clearly for the sake of being avant-garde. There has to be memorable melodies (or near out-of-body experiences, as is the case here) in order for the music to have long lasting impact. UZED handles this exceptionally, and it should be held as one of the proudest examples the RIO genre has to offer.

Sinusoid | 4/5 |

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