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ULTRA ZOOK

RIO/Avant-Prog • France


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Ultra Zook biography
A French combo ULTRA ZOOK were formed in Autumn 2011 as guitars / keyboards / drums-based trio and have played experimental / avantgarde rock tinged with RIO / Zeuhl flavour, which is called as "island music" according to what they say. They appeared on the rock scene with their debut EP "EPUZ" in June 2012, whilst they have gigged dozens of times mainly in Western Europe so far.

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ULTRA ZOOK discography


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ULTRA ZOOK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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3.00 | 4 ratings
EPUZ
2012
3.00 | 3 ratings
EPUZZ
2013
3.00 | 1 ratings
EPUZZZ
2014

ULTRA ZOOK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 EPUZZZ by ULTRA ZOOK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
3.00 | 1 ratings

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EPUZZZ
Ultra Zook RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

— First review of this album —
3 stars EPUZZZ - EP #3

On their third EP titled EPUZZZ which simply added yet another "Z" to the title started on the first release, cranked out another slice of their self-described tropical apocalyptic form of groove music with a post-modern touch. I'm not sure if there was a lineup change as Manu Siachoua is no longer part of the band and Emmanuel Siachoua is listed. So either he changed his name or his brother or other relative replaced him. Nevertheless, the Siachoua on this EP has taken up flute, bass and voice. Another feature that is different is that there is no presence of the guitar on EPUZZZ.

This third release finds a lot more emphasis on vocal interactions and harmonic dissonance in counterpoints. The zeuhl inspired bass rhythms remain intact as do the avant-prog counterpoints of the keyboards and like the second EP, this one has deviations into pure avant-prog territory with angular rhythmic twists and turns. Also once again i'm finding the falsetto wackiness of the vocal interplay very much reminds me of another French band named Poil. While it may sound like a distorted guitar at the end of "Can I Have Coens?" they seem to have gone the route of the crazy Japanese band Ruins as a bass and drums type of band for the rhythm section while the keys, flute and vocals add the zany freeform aspects.

"Raggapop" is surprisingly cartoonish and reminds me of the Warner Bros Looney Tune type constructs that Carl Stalling adapted from Raymond Scott only with a more freaked out approach that only adults who never grew up could think of. "Les Moins Nombreaux" has a very frenetic zeuhl type of bass line with some excellent keyboard work that ranges from a frenetic avant-garde classical piano style to smooth organ fills. This is probably the most dynamic track as it changes things up often with a driving keyboard attack that displays some excellent finger breaking workouts. Overall, this one is sort of a let down. There are some nice developments from EP #2 but something feels like it's lacking. Once again, ULTRA ZOOK provide an entertaining mix of eclectic influences but seem to just miss the essential mark and the Poil vocal styles start to rub me the wrong way after a while. I'd rather listen to them.

 EPUZZ by ULTRA ZOOK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
3.00 | 3 ratings

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EPUZZ
Ultra Zook RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars EPUZZ - EP #2

ULTRA ZOOK shed the imagery of the dark underground on their first EP and went all out with a beautiful and quite busy psychedelic album cover on their second EP release EPUZZ (yes, they simply added a "Z" to the debut title). If you're paying attention you will notice that they merely added an extra "Z" to the the first release title and you guessed it. They would add yet another "Z" on for the third one. While the album art imagery has changed dramatically, the music itself hasn't. This is once again what the band deems a tropical apocalyptic from of groove music and although there would be a lineup change on the third EP, this one remains the same. Like the debut, this one is only available digitally or as a Vinyl 12."

"Yapati Yupata" immediately grabs you with the hypnotic beefy bass line that utilizes a zeuhl rhythm accompanied by some busy tropicalia type keys and a harmonic interplay of freaky falsetto style vocals. This one is pretty normal as it contains no progressive freak outs, however on the second track "Mozambiouc" the avant-prog enters the scene without mercy as the steady groove is often interrupted by time signature deviations that almost sounds as if they will derail the entire song structure. This one also has nice excursions into horror music but even when it slows down, it doesn't take long to bring back the hyperactive keyboard runs.

Overall, despite being slightly shorter in length at barely over fifteen minutes, EPUZZ is a bit more diverse than the debut. Instead of an incessant groove, there are more deviations into grovelers piano runs and even a saxophone solo on "Pisote" and "Aluminium C4" by guest musician François Sabin. While i thought ULTRA ZOOK reminded me of another French band Poil on their debut they seemed to be a little monotonous in their compositional style on that one. On EPUZZ, the band really do deviate from their comfort zone and have that same sort of flamboyant style that Poil engages in. The vocals on "Tiramasu" particular bring me to Poil's album "Brossaklitt." Personally i like this second offering much better than the first. It has all the zaniness and groove from the first EP and expands it all significantly. EP #2 is my favorite of the three but still doesn't have quite enough going on to hit the essential mark.

3.5 rounded down

 EPUZ by ULTRA ZOOK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.00 | 4 ratings

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EPUZ
Ultra Zook RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars EPUZ - EP #1

ULTRA ZOOK is a trio from Clermon-Ferrand, France that has been described as playing a tropical apocalyptic form of groove music with a post-modern touch. This group is fairly unconventional in almost every way by having released three EPs to date but no album with this first release titled EPUZ. Despite existing in an avant-garde reality, ULTRA ZOOK sticks to a classic rock instrumentation with Manu Siachoua on guitar and bass, Remi Faraut on drums and Ben Bardiaux on keyboards although they would add flute on their third release. This EP is only available as a digital download or Vinyl 12'.

The sound of ULTRA ZOOK is characterized by heavy thick groove pumped out by the bass which is melodic and even danceable but with tracks titled 'Dance Broccoli Dance' and 'La Valse Des Titans Gays' it's apparent really fast that these guys are all about exhibiting a humorous and surreal experience built around their hypnotic and often aggressive grooves. The music has been classified as a zeuhl type groove alongside avant-prog counterpoints that do indeed exhibit a highly erratic and angular demeanor. This makes me thing of what Zappa's craziest stuff would've sounded like if he was a speed freak.

These guys definitely exist in their own camp as i can't recall any other group that has so masterfully married the steady flow of zeuhl rhythms with the angular dissonant chords and bizarre time signature counterpoints of avant-prog that are mostly delivered by the keyboard attacks. With a steady beat albeit irregular, this is still the most danceable avant-prog i've ever experienced. The only word that comes to mind with ULTRA ZOOK is quirky and the closest thing i've ever heard perhaps is another French band Poil, although Poil Deviates into all kinds of musical territories whereas ULTRA ZOOK keeps to the same shtick with the thick bass lines and time signatures run amok counterpoints. Pretty cool experimental stuff but seems to be lacking enough diversity to put it over the top for me.

 EPUZ by ULTRA ZOOK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.00 | 4 ratings

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EPUZ
Ultra Zook RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Very cool!

One of the things I love from Progarchives are its forum, where people can write about this music we love so much, and recommend or give some tips. In one of the topics someone recommended Ultra Zook and mentioned their music was free to download in their Bandcamp page. So I did it, and now I am reviewing their first release entitled "Epuz" which is a 5-track EP that lasts 17 minutes, in which we will listen to experimental or avant-rock music, good for the ears.

So if you can, try listening to this French band, it is worth it and now I'll tell you why. The EP opens with "Dance Broccoli Dance", a 4 minute track that starts with claps and a repetitive voice saying weeeoohaaah; seconds later bass lines appear and little by little the song is flowing, now with the introduction of a keyboard atmosphere as background, until at 1:30 the music changes, drums appear and the rhythm becomes faster in the symphonic vein. Then the voices disappear and there is an instrumental crescendo for some moments that create a cool but tense sensation; later the explosive symphonic tune returns and the song finishes. Excellent!

"Papier Bitte Schnell" has a clear reminiscence of Zeuhl bands, after all Ultra Zook are for france, so I assume some Magma albums might be in the musician's collections, though the music reminds me more of Japanese Zeuhl, which is also great. "Pasta Diva" follows the same path as the previous, its zeuhl-esque sound can be appreciated by the vocals and bass lines, though later the song changes a little bit, becomes even crazier with the great use of keyboards and put a nervous touch that makes it even better.

"La Valse des Titan Gays" has a fats sound but this time with a post-rockish tendency provoked by guitars and bass at least for the first minute, then it changes and becomes darker and experimental. Let me tell you this is a power trio, maybe not in the same league than other better known power trios, but it doesn't matter, Ultra Zook has its own style and I like it. The last song is "No Phono Sound" starts with a creepy keyboard sound and some seconds later drums and bass join and start to create a cool structure in that zeuhl mood.

If you like this kind of music, then you will have a good time with Ultra Zook, otherwise, do not even dare to listen to it. The music is cool, however, and according to my narrow procedures, I will rate it with only 2 stars, because I never (only in very special cases) give more than 2 to 20-less minute records.

Enjoy it!

 EPUZ by ULTRA ZOOK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.00 | 4 ratings

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EPUZ
Ultra Zook RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by VOTOMS

5 stars This is the Debut EP from the weird "island music" avant trio, Ultra Zook. Are u asking "what the hell is it, Island music?". I don't know why it's "island music", but it sounds funny. Full of Zeuhl-like passages, this is an... Alternative Avant Prog??? Awesome! Seems to be a Radiohead meets RIO. EPUZ is an underground gem. Dissonant chords, strange tempo, killing keyboards... Everything that pleases me. I'm a very fan of experimental music, and I wasn't expecting something so great coming from the last years (2010~~), I will recc this one to every musical avant-gardeheads. Five essential tracks! Check EPUZ at the Ultra Zook bandcamp.
 EPUZZ by ULTRA ZOOK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
3.00 | 3 ratings

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EPUZZ
Ultra Zook RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by VOTOMS

3 stars The sequel to EPUZ, I like this. Ultra Zook is a self proclaimed "island music" trio. Their music is an avant-gardish experimental rock, with zeuhl and RIO influences, according to PA. The first track features some boring vocalization, but the song is cool. I like the five tracks from this mini album. Keyboard, guitar and drums. It have strange effects everywhere, and it makes the album very entertaining. I could spend some minutes looking at this psych album art, it's cool for me. If you are into experimental stuff and looking for new and underground bands, be sure to check EPUZZ. But it's not as good as their debut. Available at the Ultra Zook bandcamp.
Thanks to DamoXt7942 for the artist addition.

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