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Univers Zero - Implosion CD (album) cover


Univers Zero



4.05 | 113 ratings

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4 stars As a long standing fan of Univers Zero, and a bit of an all round Zeuhl head, I was delighted to hear that Daniel Denis had reactivated Univers Zero but also a bit apprehensive - a lot of acts reform after a lengthy break and you wind up wishing they hadn't. In the event, UZ's new output was up to standard but on The Hard Quest and Rhythmix there was a sense that they hadn't really progressed beyond their peak in the early 80s.

Implosions is an excellent album that sees UZ updating their sound without compromising their original vision. In a way, it is like a more fully realised version of one of Denis' solo projects, using a large pool of musicians to add colour and texture to specific pieces. The integration of electric keyboards and samplers into the trademark sound of mainly acoustic orchestral instruments playing dark chamber rock has also been convincingly achieved. Some of the shorter pieces would not sound out of place on the soundtrack to a particularly dark computer game such as Doom or Resident Evil, but this never seems incongruous. At their best they always sounded like a musical interpretation of one of Bosch or Breughel the Elder's visions of eternal damnation, and Implosions continues with this tradition but drags it bodily into the third millennnium. It's also a beautifully recorded album, with every detail of the intricate arrangements crystal clear. Denis' drums have never sounded better, and the balance of acoustic and electric elements is enough to make strong hi fi afficianados weep.All of the players are outstanding, but Dirk Descheemaeker's clarinet playing deserves a special mention - his phrasing is tuly breathtaking, particularly in pieces that are so rhythmically complex.

Four stars for this one, because if this is a five star album we'll need a new rating for Ceux Du Dehors. On the strength of this album, I hope that Univers Zero continue to pursue their singular vision for as long as their inspiration lasts.

Syzygy | 4/5 |


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