Univers Zero: Rhythmix (2002)
During the 90s and into 2000, “Cuneiform Records” has been reissuing this Belgian band’s back catalogue – much to our delight we may note! Through various permutations and gaps in output, this wonderful aggregation has been in existence since 1974. Now, drummer/keyboardist and cofounder, Daniel Denis surges onward with an extended ensemble, featuring ten musicians instead of the band’s historical penchant for utilizing four, five, or six players. Nonetheless, this group has to some extent, personified the “Chamber Rock” genre, which is a characterization that emanates from its origins in the “Rock In Opposition” (RIO) movement.
Denis and associates render difficult to navigate time signatures and hallowed strings while they extend their reach with the addition of synths, and electric vibes. Hence, the chamber and gothic feel presides but the added instrumentation offers a polytonal outlook, comprised of a multi-layered slant. They pursue darkly hued textures amid weaving chamber-like passages and melodically tinged themes. On “Rouages: Second Rotation,” Denis employs a church organ (or digital patch) in concert with programmatic sequences of EFX and orchestral tympani patterns. While Eric Plantain’s steely edged electric bass lines supply the at times, haunting undercurrents. There’s a whole lot of goodness going on – especially during pieces such as “Zorgh March,” which features a militaristic march-type progression. Here, the soloists’ whimsically oriented choruses are augmented by Denis’ regimented rhythms, as the band projects a scenario that elicits notions of – preparing the troops for battle. The musicians instill a sense of urgency and motion throughout, whereas the album title effectively suggests a rhythmic matrix! Either way, this recording marks a significant milestone for this time-honored aggregation! (Zealously recommended)
Track Listing: 1.Terres Noires (Blacklands) 2.Reve Cyclique 3.Rouages: Second Rotation (Cogwheels: Second Rotation) 4.The Invisible Light 5.Phobia 6.Zorgh March 7.Zebulon 8.Foret Inviolee (Sacred Forest) 9.Shaghai
Personnel: Michel Berckmans: oboe, English Horn, bassoon & voice