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Daniel Denis - Sirius and the Ghosts CD (album) cover


Daniel Denis


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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!! For those of you that sadly missed Univers Zero's thirteen years absence between 86 and 99, you might want to check out Daniel Denis's two solo albums. Aside from collaborating with French friends Art Zoyd, he recorded two albums released as new product on the Musea label.

If you are an unconditional U Z fan , you shall not be disappointed with those solo works. This sounds almost more U Z than some U Z albums, but with slightly less variety/palette of sounds. Among the guests are Hatzigeorgiou , bassist extraordinaire from Aka Moon anf future U Z collaborators Descheemaeker on winds Kuiken on strings. The music does not veer far from U Z albums and is just as somber.

Report this review (#34333)
Posted Friday, February 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This record by the drummer of Univers Zero is a boring album. In my opinion, it doesn't sound like anything by the good old Univers Zero. It's actually a really boring album that offers NO good music. I might have had high hopes for this one since it has been compared to Univers Zero. The songs are really boring as I've mentioned, and they sound like really boring and dull RIO music that can be heard by few RIO bands around which I totally dislike. It might sound like the latest stuff by Univers Zero after they reunited. However, I haven't heard those albums. Therefore, I can't really compare between the two. In short, only for die hard fans of RIO music.
Report this review (#44258)
Posted Thursday, August 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Daniel Denis' solo albums provide a kind of continuity between the break up of Univers Zero in 1986 and their reformation in 1999. 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.

Although the pieces are well written, not all of them sound fully realised. Only two tracks feature Denis on full drum kit, and the excellent supporting players are only used sparingly. This is the main weakness of an otherwise good album - parts which could have been interpreted more imaginatively by other players are performed by Denis himself on synthesisers and electric keyboards. It's no accident that 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. The pieces that make up the second half of the album sound relatively thin in comparison; Sirius is played entirely by Denis except for the clarinet part, and on Strange Twist the only support comes from the bassist. Sirius features some excellent percussion, and Strange Twist sees Denis back on the drum stool doing what he does best, but there's something a bit lifeless about the arrangements. The album closes with the sombre Fete Souterraine, the only completely solo performance on the album. This is played entirely on keyboards, and while it's atmospheric enough the presence of some acoustic instrumentation would have made a big difference.

For Univers Zero fans there is plenty to enjoy on this album. Whilst it's not as strong as anything released by the band proper, it's still 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. Newcomers would be better advised to start with Univers Zero's Ceux Du Dehors and proceed from there.

Report this review (#75998)
Posted Sunday, April 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars An equal blend of electronic with acoustic intsrumentation and consumed by the post-apocalyptic war machines of modern cinema is the music of drummer/keyboardist Daniel Denis. But there are also video game dronings, persistent ruminations, jazz memories and balletic theater pulled together in a way that could have been overwhelming but isn't. Tribal wood sounds create the mood on 'Beyond the Mountains' and are interrupted by Gershwin chamber voicings and Denis' dark keys, contrasted by assuasive melodies from his band of various woodwinds, brass and strings. Changes are sparse but significant and carefully placed, a modulation here, a new layer of flavor there. 'A l'ombre du Zed' is powerful and lively with carnivals cutting swaths in hard Crimsonian rock surfaces. More juxtaposition of mood in 'Eastweave' where the ground underneath goes spongy and the stomach woozy, and 'Sirius' spins into a mad dance. 'Strange Twist' refreshes with a bit of fusion and a proper drum performance by Denis, and 'Fete souterraine' trance-weaves and worships ancient deities.

Difficult? Perhaps. It does take time, this one, and may slip into the background unnoticed until something pleases your tongue, but the good moments are as plentiful as the vapid ones and make up a successful whole.

Report this review (#134975)
Posted Sunday, August 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars While I can understand some of the reviewers not rating this above 3 stars, I believe that Daniel Denis achieved exactly what he sought - something referencing UZ, but not in any way a mirror.

The synth textures are classic and the composition is just what you'd expect from someone of Daniel Denis' prowess. The dynamics (a forgotten thing in almost all music today!) is so well done that when they're abrupt, it's the slight relief that he sought, not some over thought/over blown let down as so many bands are doing today. This is original art.

As always, thanks for listening, and THANKS!!! to Progarchives for such a wonderful outlet.


Report this review (#181916)
Posted Saturday, September 6, 2008 | Review Permalink

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