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Univers Zero Clivages album cover
4.03 | 221 ratings | 15 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Les Kobolds (4:15)
2. Warrior (12:10)
3. Vacillements (3:35)
4. Earth Scream (3:11)
5. Soubresauts (7:59)
6. Apesanteur (3:40)
7. Three Days (5:53)
8. Straight Edge (13:57)
9. Retour De Foire (7:42)
10. Les Cercles D'Horus (3:45)

Total time 66:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Pierre Chevalier / keyboards, glockenspiel
- Michel Berckmans / bassoon, English horn, oboe, melodica
- Kurt Budé / clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax
- Martin Lauwers / violin
- Dimitri Evers / bass, fretless bass
- Daniel Denis / drums, percussion, sampler

- Andy Kirk / guitar (2,5), percussion (2)
- Philippe Thuriot / accordion (1,10)
- Aurélia Boven / cello (10)
- Nicolas Denis / drums (10)

Releases information

Artwork: Thierry Moreau

CD Cuneiform Records ‎- Rune 295 (2010, US)

Thanks to mdelval for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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UNIVERS ZERO Clivages ratings distribution

(221 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

UNIVERS ZERO Clivages reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Now, in my latest review of one of the latest albums (to date) of latest year, you can choose one of two options:

QUESTIONS 1)Do you like crazy music ? 2)Do you hate crazy music ?

ANSWERS 1)Let's prog, this is for you! 2)Well, what about to just survive this review and try it anyway ?

Because this is weird music. Note the word "weird", which somehow is synonymous (for me) with word avantgarde. Let it we weird then and jump into this review train.

Well, sometimes reminds me these radio dramatizations of novels, or TV-production, low budget plays, which I suppose is mostly caused (this feeling) by classical-like (it's not classical music) forced (it flows easily, don't worry) into more rock-friendly (so we have prog, not classical music) style, with many wind instruments - horn, oboe, clarinet etc. One of the more pleasant (the most ?) groups in this genre, they're not unfriendly at all. Their performance is absolutely pleasant (good one here, Univers Zero). When I saw this album, I almost misconfused this for one part of woman's body, but it's just sidenote, nothing more.

Needless to say that if considering this as classical prog music (sheesh), you can say (read: I can say) that it's not your normal classical music. New trends and styles has taken its toll (again, bad sounding word meant in a good way, don't worry), so you can taste these crazy tunes for example in Straight Edge. Because sometimes it tends to be symphonic-like, sometimes cacophony-like. Like a good classical music should.

4(+), but I feel almost to give better, because of sheer impact it has on my music mind.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I'm thinking "Clivages" must mean something different in Belgium than it does over here or the album cover would be different. This latest offering from UNIVERS ZERO still really hasn't caught on with me. Sure there are some instant classics like "Warrior" , "Earth Scream" , "Straight Edge" and "Les Cercles d'Horus" but overall this is down on my list of favourite UNIVERS ZERO albums. In fact today I had a bit of a UNIVERS ZERO-fest, listening to many of their albums just to see if I was mistaken in my feelings about this one when compared to the others. I think I would rate "Heatwave" , "Implosion" and "Heresie" as my top three mainly because of my love for dark and intense music. Thankfully we get that on those four tracks I already mentioned, but there's too much lighter and classical styled music for my tastes. It's a low 4 stars for me,but that may change as I spend more time with it. There is some incredible music on this album.

"Les Kobolds" is a good example of the light styled Chamber music. Heck I would even call this light and bouncey to start and it doesn't change a whole lot throughout. "Warrior" is an amazing tune composed by Andy Kirk. Classic UNIVERS ZERO right here folks. It's dark with strange sounds and violin. Heavy drums after 1 1/2 minutes. Guitar after 4 minutes from Mr.Kirk. This sounds incredible ! Daniel is sounding really good on the drums. It settles before 7 minutes.This is dark with bassoon and bass. Experimental after 9 minutes. A great rhythm a minute later. "Vacillements" is classical sounding like the first track but better. "Earth Scream" sounds like a machine running in the dark. It becomes haunting later. I love this one. "Soubresauts" turns fairly heavy quickly but is very much chamber music. It settles with piano out front. Violins and other sounds join in too. Good tune. "Apesanteur" starts with light sounds like aboe, flute, violin and so on. Piano follows and drums.

"Three Days" is more of the same but more intense thankfully. "Straight Edge" opens with violin before piano and light drums take over. The tempo does pick up (great section) then the sax comes in and leads around 6 minutes. It settles 7 1/2 minutes in as violin followed by these faint spoken words can be heard joining in. Dissonant horns after 10 minutes. It kicks back in after 12 minutes. "Retour De Foire" is fairly dark as it slowly moves along changing and evolving as it goes. "Les Cercles d'Horus" features some guest cello and drumming (Daniel's son Nicolas?). Heavy drums to open as dark piano comes in. Violin and other sounds also join in as this plays out slowly. Piano ends it.

UNIVERS ZERO fans won't be disappointed.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Just missing the end of the 00's by a hair with the release of the 4th studio album since reforming in 99. This makes the old 00's decade a medium-slow one, since they've only released Rhythmix and Implosion as new material, filling in the voids with their two live albums (Live & Relaps), whereas by including The Hard Quest and this very Clivages would've made it a very busy decade, but both albums just missed the mark. OK, I'm finished with the nitpicking, here. With a headless statue as an artwork (this makes a very usual UZ and Cuneiform artwork), the group suffers a few changes compared to the previous Implosion album, but then again, I don't think I've seen UZ play two successive concert with the same line-up, with the first exception this winter since I'll have seen them at the album launching concert in Brussels on Feb 6 and at the Alter Ego festival two weeks later, along with Magma.

What to say of this album?? Still impeccably played, typically UZ-ian and most of the usual dithyrambics are still applicable, but I sense that the group has reached a point where it doesn't seem ready to venture further out in the wilderness and start to retread the same old ground. OK, this same old ground is still made of sumptuous mid-tempo chamber prog, but after Implosion's many small electronic interludes (that came alive in concert with the visuals), I was expecting (or at least hoping) the group to delve further in that direction. To no avail.

After a short Koboldian entrance, Warrior (from guest Andy Kirk) is one of two epics, and probably one of its (UZ) fastest tunes ever in its closing section. Vacillements is Berckman's bassoon playing hide and seek with Martin's violin and Kurt's clarinet, while his Apesanteur track is indeed a very light one, bringing a breath of fresh air. Soubresaults (aftershocks) is the logical follow-up top Earth Scream (both from Denis) and are extremely technical pieces, Denis' complex drumming certainly not helping. After a semi-interesting Three days, Budé signs the 14-mins Straight Edge, where we hear Chevalier's electric organ and other keyboard give boost to the group and sends Kurt's sax solo in the stratosphere. The slow middle section gives Kurt a chance to blow sax death thralls that'll curdle your blood, before the group finds a manic groove for its finale. Berckman's Retour De Foire is like a fairy spell, but by now, we're waiting for the Horus finale, where Daniel lets his son Nicolas handle the drum, the track being a fitting album outro.

I mean, as much as I am a fan of UZ, if I hear someone saying that since Uzed has been released (bar Implosion), if you've got one album, you've got them all, I'd have a pretty hard time finding counter-arguments to change his mind. This one might be a bit less sombre than usual, but other than that, it's definitely some excellent chamber rock music. So, even if I m a bit disappointed, this remains another impeccable Univers Zero album that is easily worth its predecessors.

Review by Negoba
4 stars A More Eclectic Offering from the Masters of Dark Chamber Rock

CLIVAGES is the first modern (post 1313 and Heresie) offering I own from chamber rock masters Univers Zero. While I rank 1313 as a modern masterpiece and Heresie as a singular achievement in dark music, CLIVAGES sees the band seem more human. The band has clearly chosen to expand their palette since the early days, incorporating electric guitars, a greater leaning on rock rather than purely classical sounds, and (GASP!!!) even using a few major chords. After 30 years, I very much appreciate that the band has something new to say. Though these elements make CLIVAGES a worthy addition to my library, the mix in ideas has also mixed the consistency of the power of the songs.

The first obvious impression that this album gave me was that it was relying much more heavily and obviously on repeated melodic figures than in the old days. In almost riff-like fashion, these figures sometimes seem to be looped rather than woven carefully first on a score sheet, and then by the players. Luckily, each of these little melodic motifs are quite interesting, using odd scale and meter in a way that is sure to delight most prog fans. From the opener "Les Kobolds" through the quirky "Soubresauts" to the main theme of the Gentle Giant-like "Apesanteur," this more blunt use of the riff runs consistently through the album. While done expertly, this technique makes me as a musician think about the composers themselves and the music as an observer and a critic (though an applauding one) rather than as participant drawn into a sonic landscape. There is no doubt that this is achieved on the two albums I mentioned, and occasionally even here for some stretches.

As another review mentioned, the best songs happen when Univers Zero sticks to what they know and do best: disturbing, classically orchestrated, meticulously composed pieces. "Warrior," "Earth Scream," and "Straight Edge" are among the best on the album, dark and brooding, just the way we like UZ. In contrast, "Soubresauts" features a simple major harmonic figure that reminds almost of pop music. Of course these section are punctuated by angular, staccato lines, but there is a sense of light (well maybe cloudy with a chance of sunshine) to contrast the darkness here. This certainly isn't the post descent into the abyss, covered in heavy layers of dark mud that is Heresie.

It will be interesting for me to explore other more modern outings by UZ. As it is, I enjoy CLIVAGES very much. While not masterpiece level, I easily give it 4 stars. A great job by a veteran band showing that they can not only show some new spins on their trademark sounds, but are willing to inject new ideas too. A strong 4/5.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Since I've only been exploring Univers Zero for the past year I still haven't had time to acquire any of their post '80s. Lately my urge for new material from the band made me start considering a new purchase but once I heard the news of a possible new studio album my next course of action became all too clear.

This time around the line-up featured such familiar names as Daniel Denis (obviously), Michel Berckmans plus a brief, but very welcoming, appearance by Andy Kirk on Warrior and Soubresauts. But how does the band sound after all these years? Just like Uzed before it Clivages has an opening number which might once again manage to surprise the most dedicated fans. Les Kobolds begins with a surprisingly cheerful intro section and it's not until 1,5 minutes into the composition that I began to hear those familiar Univers Zero passages. It was a delightful shock which wore off entirely once the music transitioned into the next composition simply titled Warrior. The assumption of simplicity was completely uncalled for on my part since this 12 minute piece is the definite centerpiece of this entire album. The composition is very dark with haunting sounds of violin and basson penetrating through the listener while Denis is keeping a devilishly steady beat which gets a few obligatory drum fills here and there. The composition's second act gets slightly quieter which enhances the mood even more so once it all comes crashing down in its climactic ending one cannot help but shiver in delight.

What follows next are two shorter pieces in that distinct Univers Zero tradition which states that every highly demanding piece requires at least one chamber music composition to help with the transition to the next number. Vacillements played its part quite nicely while Earth Scream offered an unexpected sampling composition leading up to the album's next highlight.

Soubresauts is the second composition featuring Andy Kirk and just like the first time around this is a complete masterpiece of a composition which over its mere 8 minutes time manages to fuse together the best bits and pieces from the acoustic and electric periods of their career. The remainder of the album, although dramatic at times, can unfortunately not compete with the majestic first part. Straight Edge is the second composition that transcends the 10 minute barrier but the results here aren't as impressive. Hopefully that opinion will change after a few more revisits but as it stands today the piece has a few memorable sections which aren't fused together all that well.

After all these years it feels reassuring to know that Univers Zero is alive and well while still going strong in their important exploration of music boundaries as we know them. In their early years this band sounded like nothing we've ever heard before and although time might have caught up with Univers Zero in terms of production and sampling this music has a definite potential of transcending the barrier of time and live forever.

***** star songs: Les Kobolds (4:17) Warrior (12:12) Soubresauts (8:00)

**** star songs: Vacillements (3:37) Earth Scream (3:12) Apesanteur (3:42) Three Days (5:55) Straight Edge (13:55) Retour De Foire (7:44) Les Cercles d'Horus (3:45)

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars By the time I'm publishing this review, we're on the brink of the end of this year's first quarter, but still there is no doubt in my mind that Univers Zero's "Clivages" is a 2010 Top 5 album. In spite of the slow pace in which this band has released its latest efforts, it remains a consistent leading force in the realms of RIO and avant-garde progressive rock. The main factor in the untouchable greatness of "Clivages" is that it expresses a revitalized capture of the old sinister dynamics that had made UZ's first four efforts (from "1313" to "Uzed") undisputed RIO classics. The atmospheric sortileges that had stated an abundant presence in the last and penultimate albums are more subdued in "Clivages", which directly means that this Belgian ensemble goes for it when it comes to generating a powerful sonic frame where creepiness, mystery and uneasiness reign supreme. With the constant guide of drummer/percussionist Daniel Denis and the loyal assistance of lieutenant Michel Berkmans (oboe-bassoon virtuoso), UZ stays on top of its game as a current sextet after the departure of guitarist Andy Kirk. Nevertheless, the latter contributed with one composition and two appearances as special guest. Now, let's go and listen to the album itself. 'Les Kobolds' starts with agile moods set in a sonic architecture sensitive to the influence of exotic nuances: the piece's epicenter is focused on the fluid marriage of violin and woodwinds. Next is the epic 'Warrior' (Kirk-penned), whose mechanized-oriented prelude brings an air of unsettling expectation. Then, at the 2 minute mark, a languid darkness is installed while the violin begins to occupy the center stage. The thanatical element that invades the whole atmosphere is pretty much related to the "Heresie" and "Ceux Du Dehors" albums. The solemn monotony is fed with a clever framework of rich cadences that instigate an electrifying climax, which ultimately leads to a demolishing section that finds the bassoon and clarinet sharing the leading spot: from then on, we must be prepared for the final climax. 'Vacillements' follows this monumental piece bringing a somewhat fresh air of lyrical colorfulness. Then, 'Earth Scream' enters in and states an industrial sample (arguably, a satire of the modern man's technological world). 'Soubresauts' shakes us with startling ambiences in which the energetic articulated nuances seem designed to remind us of the "Uzed" days: the syncopated escalations elaborated from the 4 ¾ minute mark are simply terrific. I cannot stress this enough ? this album is a labor of reconstruction and refurbishment around the vintage UZ sound, and tracks like 'Apesanteur' and 'Three Days' happen to infinitely reinforce this notion. In the former track, the woodwinds create wonderful textures around the tight rhythm duo of Denis and Evers, while in the latter one, the strings and winds display a source of mysterious beauty, very much a-la Rachmaninov with touches of Grieg and Stravinsky. Next is 'Straight Edge', the other epic in the album. The crying violin intro is soon accompanied by menacing piano scales, and this is when the main body is starting to take shape. Not too long after the 3 minute mark, the group is lost in a spectacular trance of density and darkness, all the way to the 7 minute mark, which is when the piece shifts to subtler moods. The resulting atmosphere of uneasy intrigue lasts 4 minutes, and then, a window opens so the darkness begins to expand like a storm that was waiting to get in. the final blow is brutal, which would have made a wonderful album closer. But, since that is not the case, we can only appreciate the fact that 'Retour De Foire' comes in with a little fresh air through its calm motifs. Still, there are some grayish undertones revolving softly beneath the surface, which makes this piece a proper precedent of the closing track 'Les Cercles d'Horus'. This one has a special guest in it on drums ? Daniel Denis' son, Nicolas. This minimalist piece penned by Daniel bears a martial mood for the half-funeral, half-ethereal main motif. All in all, "Clivages" is an absolute progressive pleasure, and so, Univers Zero reveals that it still has lots of creativity and strength to go on providing us great classics for the present of avant-garde rock.
Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars New UZ release of 2010 was really attractive album to be listened, and I've done it at the first possibility. My feelings to this album are quite mixed though.

First of all you will find there music of very high professional quality and it's great! UZ (as many other RIO bands) are known by their professionalism, and it works! Then, you wouldn't be disappointed if you expected to hear chamber rock - they play it well!

But - RIO means "Rock In Opposition" , and UZ are one of movement founders. Then, if there is still possible to find rock elements in their chamber music (which is really chamber there), then bigger problem is with "opposition". What they are opposing? Musical business - then I afraid they are really more respectable part of it then Yoshida Tatsuya or other Japanese avant prog musicians, etc. In fact, music they play is now usual component of philharmonic life all around Europe (not sure about other world).

So - rebellion is just nice clothes? I afraid yes. At least this album once again confirm it. Comfortable and safe sound, modern form of classical music (combining chamber legacy with some modern "rock" elements). Nothing is bad in it for sure. But for band who maid its name on the wave of avant prog, it will be nice just to show some experimentalism, new ideas, even a bit. Unhappily, nothing could be found there on this album.

What doesn't mean that music is not good enough. UZ fans will be really happy with this release, and they are right in some sense. If you like to hear excellent example of chamber rock circa late 70-s, then you have it here!

So, take it, but don't expect to hear modern avant prog there. Better be ready for vintage chamber rock of really great quality.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Getting to know this album has provoked within me a discussion over what constitutes music, how music becomes considered 'progressive', and how the pleasure principle plays into the subjective, qualitative definition of what is 'good,' what is 'beautiful.' I do not consider this 'beautiful' music. I consider this music strongly evocative--inciting emotional responses within the listener. I do consider this music progressive and creative. I do consider the musicians dedicated to creating and performing this as accomplished, admirable, laudable. I am not drawn to listen and re-listen to this music' it is more of an effort, a mental task of trying to understand, grasp, appreciate this unenjoyable music. That is not quite correct: I can 'enjoy' this music from an intellectual perspective as I appreciate the technical and compositional skill and risks taken to create this music. I can even feel compelled to 'move' or 'dance' to some of this music--which, in and of itself, is an enjoyable experience. I imagine that being in an audience during of concert of this music I would find myself entertained, perhaps mesmerized, and, therefore, perhaps enjoying myself. But the fact that it is unlikely that this music will ever receive more intrinsic motivation to listen to it (unless impelled by a "I should"--or by the desire to show off some weird and unusual musical constructs to a friend or family member) renders me unable to rate this album as "essential: a masterpiece" or even "excellent addition to any music lover's collection" when I clearly do not feel it is either. Again, intellectually I can--and do--appreciate this music. But that is not enough. The more baroque and modern chamber pieces ("Vacillements," "Apesanteur" and the KARDA ESTRA-like "Retour de Foire") are excellent--and enjoyable. But pieces like "Earth Scream" (It's been done. Many times.) and "Warriors" (I keep waiting for the sax solo's of HENRI MANCINI's "Peter Gunn" theme while picturing Anthony Perkins lurking around in Vienna's shadows) take extreme effort to try to listen all the way through. The remaining songs are somewhere in between. "Straight Edge" is more akin to MILES DAVIS than anything else--which is good, and it is entertaining and changing and full of subtleties (and virtuosic playing), but.... Sorry. Not my cup of tea.

Updated 1/6/11: I've been listening to this CD more and more since YUGEN's "Iridule" came out and, while I don't find it as accessible, melodic, positive, or vibrant as "Iridule," I have been growing accustomed and even liking more and more of it--especially "Retour de foire"--an amazing piece! So, I'm going to upgrade to 4 stars with the caution: "Give it time before you judge."

Revisited 4/21/13: Probably one of the best albums of 2010--and now one of my favorites--as well as my favorite UZ album.

Review by SaltyJon
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I've had this album since not long after it was released. Near the end of 2009 I heard the good news that we would be getting a new Univers Zero album, so I started to keep watch for it to hit the virtual shelves. After owning it for around 10 months now, I'm still having trouble with writing a review for it. I've found that Univers Zero is a very hard band for me to review, because I'm not sure exactly the appropriate way to describe their music and how it affects me.

This was my second album from the band, ordered not more than a couple weeks after I bought their debut. After listening to that one, this one sounds quite different - for one thing, not every track is so dark and sinister as on the debut. Les Kobolds in particular surprised sounds downright cheery to me! The mood doesn't stick around too long though. Warrior brings to mind the atmosphere and mood of the other Univers Zero albums I own, and does it in a pretty great way. We get a nice chugging rhythm on bass and some other strings, with Denis providing his usual interesting drumming and some woodwind soloing over top of everything, and of course we get some nice dissonant passages as well. All in all, this turns out to be a great track as well. I haven't heard many tracks from this band that weren't great, though.

Almost all of the tracks on this album are great. There is really only one track which I don't enjoy quite as much, though it's one of the short tracks (the shortest, actually) and doesn't disrupt the flow of the album at all in my opinion. I'm not even saying it's a bad track, in fact...just not at the same level of the rest of the album. Earth Screams is the culprit here...I wish they would have made it slightly less atmosphere heavy, slightly more music heavy, but I'll live either way, especially as it leads into one of my favorite tracks on the album, Soubresauts. It's another track that sounds lighter than much of Univers Zero's material to me, but it's a very well done track.

All in all, this album will not disappoint fans of chamber rock, and as far as that goes it's not a bad place to start either. So far, this is one of my favorite Univers Zero albums, but I have only heard four of them. Still, the debut is the only one I prefer to this right now, and both are incredible. Just don't expect all doom and gloom from this one - the band has changed a bit since the days of the debut. This is definitely one of my favorite albums from this year.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I still have to catch up with UZ's post-Heatwave output, but the 2010 Clivages album has sure fired my interest. Not only did the band stick to their strengths, they also balanced out their lighter and darker side. It makes for a diverse listen that has me entirely on board for the whole ride.

A first thing to note is how strong the production is. In my ears, the UZ 80's masterpieces suffered a bit from the cold and clinical production values of their decade, especially where the percussion was concerned. Don't mind, it's just me, but at least I'm glad we have a very organic sound here, where the acoustic instruments enjoy their full natural sound (as with classic chamber music), and integrate perfectly with the forceful electric instruments.

The second point that strikes me is how well this album balances UZ's dark traits with their brighter side, a good example is Vacillements and Earth Scream, two tracks that are put side by side but couldn't be more contrasting. Vacillements is playful, quirky and joyous. It's an astounding take on Prokofiev in a 2010 RIO context. Earth Scream by contrast, is dark and minimal, industrial and threatening. They had a similar piece like this on Crawling Wind, but apart from that it is quite unique in their catalogue.

A third point is the song material, with vintage UZ pieces like Warrior and Straight Edge, the album can stand proudly next to the output of the band's heyday. Add the lighter pieces to that and you end up with a 66 minute piece of album that is perfectly digestible from start to finish. By the way, the lighter pieces here are very close to what some current-day Belgian chamber rock bands are doing. If you dig pieces like Three Days and Vacillements you should sure check out some of Aranis' work.

Not the most surprising album for people familiar with the band but a very consistent one, an impressive achievement for a band that has been going for more then 35 years!

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Clivages' - Univers Zero (8/10)

Longheld to be the pioneers of 'chamber rock', Univers Zero is one of the most influential art music groups still around. Making them even more exciting is the fact that even now, they are still releasing vital music. 'Clivages' does not show this well-traversed band doing much that they haven't already before, but the diversity of styles, moods, and levels in experimentation make this latest record a perfect gateway album for any potential newcomers to the band.

Although I first listened to chamber rock through bands like Aranis, it is Univers Zero that they are influenced by. Making Univers Zero still a little more unique is the fact that they are able to go two ways with their music, one being the band-oriented classical music that defines chamber music, and the second being a more experimental brand that shows up here in forms of dissonance and genre-bending. These two sides of the band each take vastly different journeys, and thus should be analyzed independently. First, the chamber music here is something that I would not find out of place on a film soundtrack. It is complex, yet intimate and emotional. Musically speaking, there is alot going on in terms of melodic counterpoints and textures, but due to the ensemble's relative small scale (as far as classical music is concerned), each musician's own personality is brought to the table and heard nicely. 'Les Kobolds' and 'Vacillements' both nicely define this style for the band.

On the other hand, the band is prone to contrasting this pleasant-sounding chamber music with a flair for the experimental and strange. 'Warrior' takes the listener on a King Crimson- esque voyage through jazz explorations and apocalyptic progressions, almost to the point where the quaint joy of the opening track is forgotten. Univers Zero keeps throwing the listener between moments of happiness and fear. Despite being an instrumental album, I am kept on my feet almost all of the time. The music is played especially well, with each instrument sounding out notes with clear intention and emotion. There aren't too many bad things to be said about 'Clivages', although it could be noted that it starts to feel as if it drags on a little past what may have been optimal, especially towards the latter half of the album. In general, the musical quality is very high, but the album does have a somewhat weak flow in between tracks, brought on no less by the roller coaster of emotions they seem deadset on taking the listener on.

This has been my first earnest experience with Univers Zero, and it certainly won't be the last; even having only heard one album, I have no problem calling this band one of the most interesting acts I have ever heard. It is not music without challenge, but there is a nice variety here to give the listener a rest from the harsher moments the band offers.

Review by admireArt
4 stars This, the latest UZ studio album, is a "picture-book" of the vast fields UZ has dwelled through the years. A perfect first album for new-comers considering the high level of performance and composition, these ensemble has scaled.

Not all is "dark" as one can easily pre-assume with UZ.

Sometimes, since "The Hard Quest", they even sound playful. This was obviously done by will and self-musical demand for evolution. I mean, who wants to do a single thing forever, more when you do it for no monetary-attachments. So "Clivages" travels with new compositions through their discoveries, encounters and past-worlds.

The "programme" itself is well balanced, so at the end, you will experience different after-tastes, not only one. So, by now, as self-demanding performers, they travel routes, not traveled in the past, but their "obscure" upbringing, will show anywhere they appear, but never to spoil the whole body of work, or worst to spoil the fun.

For people who already are related to the band, there are some references to previous works, as brushtrokes of "darker-days", opposite to the more inviting and sun-lighted structures. Therefore, yes sometimes the "children of the night" show up in broad day-light and have tons of fun, but beware of the night, as always, you never know what can really happen.

****4.5 PA stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars If anyone wanted to suggest that Univers Zero had lost any of their early darkness or intensity in their later years, Clivages stands as a firm rebuke to any such notion. Take, for instance, the 12 minute saga of Warrior, an all- instrumental RIO workout which excels at evoking an atmosphere of unfettered darkness and violence, with King Crimson-filtered jazz influences expertly incorporated into their chamber rock attack.

That said, whilst Clivages includes some of their most intense moments since their earliest albums, it also showcases the broader range they've attained in their mature era. Les Kobolds, for instance, is positively perky in its approach, a sunny prequel to the war crimes to come. On the whole, the album represents the modern incarnation of Univers Zero at the top of its game.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Univers Zero do it again!!! Admittedly, I haven't heard the two right before this release, Clivages will prove to be one Denis' best output of his career. One of the fathers of RIO, they never seem to disappoint. Very intricate, moody, classical-oriented, jazz-oriented at times, Fantastic composi ... (read more)

Report this review (#288656) | Posted by Doomcifer | Tuesday, June 29, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Univers Zero - Clivages Clivages is, as you have gathered the latest UZ release. Univers Zero perform chamber rock music. Interestingly there are many variations on what constitutes this genre. And a great deal of these varaitions are featured here. Clivages has material from four of their ... (read more)

Report this review (#282011) | Posted by uduwudu | Saturday, May 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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