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DANIEL DENIS

RIO/Avant-Prog • Belgium


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Daniel Denis biography
Daniel Denis' musical career started in 1971, when he formed the band ARKHAM. In 1971 they supported MAGMA on stage, and Denis played with them a few times on stage. Keyboard player Jean Luc Manderlier left to join MAGMA, and in 1973 the nucleus of the legendary UNIVERS ZERO came together. Denis emerged as the main composer, and UZ released a series of acclaimed albums over the next few years. In 1979 co-founder Roger Trigaux split to form PRESENT, and Denis has since played in both bands. In the mid 1980s Denis began a long association with ART ZOYD, and in 1987 UNIVERS ZERO split.

Denis recorded and released two fine solo albums, "Sirius and the Ghosts" (1991) and "Les Eaux Troubles" (1993). The first was largely a solo affair, with Denis making extensive use of electric keyboards and synthesisers, and could be seen as a continuation of UZs's final album. "Les Eaux Troubles" featured a large pool of guest musicians, including past and future members of UNIVERS ZERO, and was composed of shorter pieces. It can be seen as pointing the way forward to the reformed UNIVERS ZERO.

Denis reconvened UNIVERS ZERO after a 13 year break, and to date they have released 3 excellent albums. Both of Denis' solo albums are well worth tracking down; "Sirius and the Ghosts" is probably the best to start with.

: : : Chris Gleeson, ENGLAND : : :

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DANIEL DENIS discography


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DANIEL DENIS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.05 | 10 ratings
Sirius and the Ghosts
1991
3.58 | 6 ratings
Les Eaux Troubles
1993

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DANIEL DENIS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Les Eaux Troubles by DENIS, DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.58 | 6 ratings

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Les Eaux Troubles
Daniel Denis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by tmay102436

4 stars God, I just love this stuff. The beauty of Daniel Denis is that you can enjoy the music on quite a few levels. Since I am not classically trained or educated, I can't imagine the knowledge that it takes to produce this unique peak into the creative source of Daniel Denis. But, as a prog rock guy, loving the RIO from it's inception: Henry Cow, Art Zoyd, and of course Denis' group Univers Zero, this album is a nice challenge, but yet very, very accessible.

The beauty of this offering, which is quite a bit different from Daniel's incredible first album, is the ensemble approach. Very organic, with just a small touch of nice synthetic stuff added as "color." The recording is also very clean and the placement of sounds in the stereo spectrum is natural and yet really lends itself to headphone listening.

I for one am so thankful for Daniel Denis as he is a drummers drummer, and yet his real talent lies in composition and execution of ideals and ideas. Thank you Mr. Denis for the years of the very best in the RIO genre.

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 Sirius and the Ghosts by DENIS, DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.05 | 10 ratings

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Sirius and the Ghosts
Daniel Denis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by tmay102436

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.

Tom

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 Sirius and the Ghosts by DENIS, DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.05 | 10 ratings

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Sirius and the Ghosts
Daniel Denis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator 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.

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 Sirius and the Ghosts by DENIS, DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.05 | 10 ratings

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Sirius and the Ghosts
Daniel Denis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Syzygy
Special Collaborator 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.

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 Sirius and the Ghosts by DENIS, DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.05 | 10 ratings

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Sirius and the Ghosts
Daniel Denis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Dan Yaron

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.

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 Les Eaux Troubles by DENIS, DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.58 | 6 ratings

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Les Eaux Troubles
Daniel Denis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Syzygy
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Daniel Denis has doggedly followed his unique muse for over 30 years, never compromising his artistic vision. Les Eaux Troubles is the most musically diverse and probably the most personally revealing work of this remarkable composer and performer, and is also something of a bridge between phase 1 and phase 2 of Univers Zero.

The two lengthy tracks that open and (almost) close the album are closest in style to Univers Zero, and in between them he lets his muse run free and pays homage to some of his influences. 'Coeur de Boeuf' - literally translated 'Heart of Beef' is a deftly executed tip of the hat to another great individual stylist, Captain Beefheart, and features some nimble marimba playing from future Univers Zero member Bart Quartier. 'Bulgarian Flying Spirit Dances' draws heavily on the East European composers who are an obvious influence on his work, particularly Bartok. 'Opus Rictus', despite the sombre title, is almost playful, propelled along by bass tuba and some agreeably daft massed voices. Denis' drumming is impeccable throughout, and he coaxes superb performances from all his guests. Jan Kuijken on cello and Dirk Descheemaeker on clarinet make particularly fine contributions.

This album is recommended to any fans of RIO and Zeuhl. Whilst it's not exactly easy listening, it's probably the most accessible of Denis' work to date.

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 Les Eaux Troubles by DENIS, DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.58 | 6 ratings

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Les Eaux Troubles
Daniel Denis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really! For his second solo album in a two year gap, Daniel Denis invited more "friends" and this guest list reads a bit like a who's who of experimental rock in Belgium. Catoul is now defunct but was a good violinist, Segers of course an ancient UZ and Present alumni, Vervloesem is the guitarist leader of those crazy X-Legged Sally, and more.... Without forgetting UZ future members Kuiken and Descheemaeker.

Unlike the previous album, the tracks are shorter and some suggest a bit of humour something almost inconcievable with such somber music still very much in U Z mould.

Recommended only to the usual fans of such adventurous music.

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 Sirius and the Ghosts by DENIS, DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.05 | 10 ratings

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Sirius and the Ghosts
Daniel Denis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator 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.

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