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Thread: Featured Album: Univers Zero - UZED

  1. #1
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Featured Album: Univers Zero - UZED

    http://www.progarchives.com/progress...1324102008.jpg

    Univers Zero - UZED

    uz.jpg

    Tracks Listing
    1. Présage (9:48)
    2. L'Etrange Mixture du Docteur Schwartz (3:52)
    3. Célesta (for Chantal) (6:55)
    4. Parade (6:37)
    5. Emmanations (15:43)

    Line-up :
    - Jean-Luc Plouvier / electric & acoustic pianos, synthesizer, piano strings, percussion
    - Dirk Descheemaeker / soprano sax, clarinet, bass clarinet
    - André Mergen / cello, alto sax, voice
    - Christian Genet / bass, balafon, bowed guitar, tapes, whistle
    - Daniel Denis / drums, percussion, synthesizer

    Here is what John Davie (AKA MELLOTRON STORM) had to say about it on ProArchives
    Having started from the beginning with UNIVERS ZERO, the first thing I noticed when listening to this album was how different it sounded from the earlier ones. For me this is their first 5 star album and my second favourite from them after the next one "Heatwave". This one is more electric than the earlier ones and they have traded the harmonium, bassoon, aboe and english horn for the sax, clarinet and synths. I liked the way Sean Trane described the difference, it's like going from the macabre and sinister to the mysterious and sombre. Yes this still has lots of dark passages, but there is actually moments that feel like dusk, as opposed to being always in the night. The cello is used in place of the violin as well, although there is some guest violin and guitar on one track.

    "Presage" is my favourite song on here. It opens with some beautiful piano before kicking in before a minute with drums and bass. This contrast continues. The cello before 3 minutes is nice as drums and bass pound away. A scorching cello melody as piano comes back reminding me of the intro. "L'Etrange Mixture Du Docteur Schwartz" features a lot of tempo changes. It slows right down 3 minutes in as piano and cello end it. "Celesta (For Chantal)" is a dark and slow moving song with piano and some guest violin leading the way. Heavy drums after 5 minutes as the guest guitar grinds away. Nice. Synths as well on this one.

    "Parade" is lighter and more uptempo. A terrific collage of various sounds including horns, synths, piano, drums and cello as the tempo and mood continues to shift. "Emmanations" is by far the longest track at over 15 minutes. It rivals the first song as my favourite. It opens with lots of atmosphere that is tense and eerie. It starts to brighten a little before 2 minutes. The pace is stepped up a notch 4 minutes in as bass and drums deliver the goods. It becomes dark and ominous 5 1/2 minutes in as the climate continues to change. I like the section after 10 minutes. After 14 minutes we get some spooky and dark sounds to end it.

    A nice change for the band, and they will continue on this path for their next record "Heatwave".





    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  2. #2
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Fantastic album, personally I prefer the bassoon & oboe on the previous 3. Their first 5 albums are nearly faultless and it's really over analyzing to pick one over the other. Presage is probably the strongest track on this one. A strong 13 for me (now that I'm on Gnosis)
    Ian

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  3. #3
    Casanova TCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NogbadTheBad View Post
    Fantastic album, personally I prefer the bassoon & oboe on the previous 3. Their first 5 albums are nearly faultless and it's really over analyzing to pick one over the other. Presage is probably the strongest track on this one. A strong 13 for me (now that I'm on Gnosis)
    The same here Ian!
    A 14 for me!.

    Excellent call Trane!.
    - G r e a t album!. -

    Cheers!.

  4. #4
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    A really great album and my least favorite of the first five. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy the hell out of it.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

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    This space for rent: Well established location. Perfect opportunity for an up and coming smart-ass to benefit from our years of provocation!

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    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  5. #5
    An album with one familiar name.
    I have Dirk Descheemaeker on 12 Wim Mertens CD's and his daugther on 1.

  6. #6
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Love it.
    One of their albums that's hardly fits the description 'Chamberrock'.

  7. #7
    Member nosebone's Avatar
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    Love it!

    Emanations is my favorite UZ tune
    no tunes, no dynamics, no nosebone

  8. #8
    ^ Arguably their most overtly zeuhlish album, and a damn fine one. I always thought that this work -should- have been a general reference-point for 80s progressive rock as such. While I prefer the first three for points of sheer interest and listening enjoyment, UZED hears the mighty UZ become if not exactly accessible than at least "diplomatic" in approach - while still retaining their edge, attack and refinement.

    Completely excellent.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  9. #9
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    My favourite Univers Zero album alongside with Ceux du Dehors.
    "A waste of talent and electricity." John Peel on ELP

  10. #10
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    Love it.
    One of their albums that's hardly fits the description 'Chamberrock'.
    the review isn't mine, BTW.

    However, I'm one to think that UZED is the first of the second phase of the band, the more "melodic" (all things being relative in UZ) era and the blueprint for a few albums to come. Only Implosion would not sound like a Uzed rehash (pardon the semi-pun)
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  11. #11
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    start at 4:40 with lizard stomping music......
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
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    This space for rent: Well established location. Perfect opportunity for an up and coming smart-ass to benefit from our years of provocation!

    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  12. #12

  13. #13
    Probably my favorite U Zed. It has a rockier approach, and somehow feels more connected to the music that was happening at the time, and hence - culturally - more relevant, more a product of our times. But what strikes me the most is its sense of transparent clarity. There is nothing that could be deemed ambivalent or dubious or in any case redundant here: the compositions are like pieces of marble extracted as ready-made sculptures from a rock. Nothing to be added or subtracted - whether one likes them or not.

    I would say with my limited knowledge that there is a lot more of the early 20th centuries French and Russian composers in here than plain Bartok gloom as in Heresie. The creative emanations were not just those of darkness and terror. So this one appeals more to my psyche than other fantastic U Zed works.

    A masterpiece for sure.
    Last edited by Zappathustra; 3 Weeks Ago at 03:12 PM.

  14. #14
    My favorite UZ.
    Infinite Ceiling on www.ckcufm.com every Thursday night at 8:30 with me or Mark Keill, archived shows: https://cod.ckcufm.com/programs/112/...tml?filter=all
    Electronic Meditation on www.ckcufm.com archived shows: https://cod.ckcufm.com/programs/462/...tml?filter=all

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post


    start at 4:40 with lizard stomping music......
    That was very cool! I love these Amoeba WIMB clips, and did I read correctly? Josh Pollock is the host??

  16. #16
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smcfee View Post
    My favorite UZ.
    Always been mine as well.
    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

  17. #17
    My first taste of this band, and I never looked back. I sort of flip back and forth between Ceux du dehors and this as my favorite. I think the use of electronics was a new and interesting development, one which fully blossomed on the underrated follow-up Heatwave (marking Andy Kirk’s return to the band). “Emmanations” is a wild ride, but I love the whole album.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  18. #18
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    Great album! Probably my second favorite of theirs after Ceux du Dehors but the first 5 are all great.

    Presage and Emmanations are great tracks but my favorite is probably the dark and slow Célesta.

  19. #19
    Subterranean Tapir Hobo Chang Ba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    A really great album and my least favorite of the first five. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy the hell out of it.
    I would put their debut under this one, but even then it's very close.

    I wouldn't want to be without any of these five (or really any of their albums), though.
    No humor please, we're skittish.

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  20. #20
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Dont forget the album in between Ceux and Uzed



    I am not sure I have a favorite, the albums are quite different - I spin The Hard Quest and Rhythmix occasionally and even though they are quite different from both the first 2 (chamber), next 3 (more dynamic), and the more last 4 complex , I like them a lot.

  21. #21
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobo Chang Ba View Post
    I would put their debut under this one, but even then it's very close.
    As I get older, continue to I rediscover the joy I got out of that 'so outta its or any other time' debut when I first heard it in 1978. And I really like the remix of it a lot, which for me didn't lose anything and added much.

    It's currently the fave just for the atmosphere and the general 'huh' of that coming out in 1977.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    This space for rent: Well established location. Perfect opportunity for an up and coming smart-ass to benefit from our years of provocation!

    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    the general 'huh' of that coming out in 1977.
    I can only imagine.

    The debut was the first UZ I got, on vinyl back in 1994 from Swedish retailer Record Heaven's "used rarities" bin. It's a bit hissy and wornout on the rills, so I usually spin the CD - yet when I do play the vinyl it's a feast going on. This was always my fave of theirs, and still today one of the most amazing and bizarre records I ever owned with any possible connection whatsoever to the estranged and fluctuating medium of rock music. Was/is it even rock music? Well yes, in the wake of the endeavour of progressive rock developments - entailing artists as stylistically outlandish as Third Ear Band, Tangerine Dream, Mike Oldfield, Gryphon, Flairck or Penguin Café Orchestra - it certainly was. And the post-rock generation took to new angles of acknowledgement with acts like Rachel's or Main or LaBradford.

    I might have listened more to Heresie or Dehors, but the debut remains unique for all the different reasons - IMHO.
    Last edited by Scrotum Scissor; 3 Weeks Ago at 07:32 AM.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  23. #23
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

    Yes.

    I was very lucky to hear it very early. I had met Maggie Thomas and Chris Cutler in June, 1977 and Maggie had asked me to find a couple of records for her, which I eventually did. Took some time - no internet - had to prowl used record stores.

    I mailed them to her sometime in 1978 and she offered me two album in exchange from the just starting Recommended Records. I knew I wanted Etron Fou "Les Trois Fou's", because I had seen them open for Henry Cow and they did a bunch of wonderful material that wasn't on their first album that I had bought from them at the shows and I was hoping this material was on this album (it was!!)

    So I had to choose one other; I was eventually won over by the description in the early RR catalog of UZ playing the original RIO Fest in London and them "receiving the least applause, but selling the most merchandise".

    BINGO. I had chosen my second album! And I was thrilled with both albums when they arrived in the post!

    A lot of my life came from those two albums and that one decision...I posted a long thing on FB about the Etron album - if you are on FB, you might want to look for it or - if you like - I will post it here.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    This space for rent: Well established location. Perfect opportunity for an up and coming smart-ass to benefit from our years of provocation!

    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  24. #24
    I read your post on FB Steve and loved it, and think others would love it here as well. Just my $0.02.

    Also, minor aside but always happy to see the lovely Labradford mentioned these days (by SS).

    Last minor aside: on Google, Etron Fou is listed as "comedy/spoken word/other" which seems weirdly apt
    Ephemeral Sun - because I gotta do something about these boxes of CDs in the basement: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  25. #25
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    I read your post on FB Steve and loved it, and think others would love it here as well. Just my $0.02.
    l
    Be that way, then!

    -------------

    10 albums that seriously impacted in some way, even if the album itself did NOT actually impact. Huh?

    Read on.

    NOTE for those keeping score and worrying about the test; If I choose one amongst the ten albums and also the lessons that most of them taught me, I think that this was my biggest, most personally important lesson.

    Album #6. Paging Fred Frith who may be interested to hear this story - I know I never told it to him....

    In June 1977, when I was 19 I went to London for 2 weeks; I had made friends on the bus going to college with a lady who went to High School in the UK, and for some very daft (but very kind) reason she invited me along on one of her trips to see her friends there, and her friends put me up while I was there! We were not romantically involved in any way at that time and one of her friends in the UK was a on/off suitor of hers, but her friends totally accepted me and I had a wonderful time and was basically totally free to come and go as I pleased and to do what I wanted!! It was quite the wonderful situation for me.

    I don’t think I had much of a plan, but when I got there I bought a London A-Z book [a book of maps; London is a very old city and can be very confusing] and Time Out magazine, which had listings for all the shows happening for the week.

    As blind, stupid, kiddie luck would have it, during the two weeks I was there, Henry Cow, who were one of the bands I MOST wanted to see, and had the least chance of actually seeing in Wheaton, MD, just happened to be doing their first U.K. tour in 2 years and I saw them twice: June 10 in Southend and June 12 in Guilford. I cannot begin to convey how excited I was that I would get to see them!

    So, I went, and opening the show was a French band I had never heard of (and neither had anyone else in the UK), Etron Fou Leloublan.

    The music is going to start and I am *not* particularly excited about delaying seeing Henry Cow by a hour because I will be seeing these *nobodies* who I don't care about and who will sing in a language that I specifically avoided learning in school and who will probably suck crepes, and, and, and, blah, blah, blah.

    And they start. And they are FUNNY and WRY, with long, surrealistic introductions on what the songs are about in bad English, but carefully thought-about bad English, which makes the surrealities even more so, and musically they are funny and fast and witty and utterly magnificent and I totally enjoy the HELL out of them!

    And by the time I am waiting to see them open for Cow the second time, 2 days later, I have this funny, nagging suspicion in my brain that I think that, maybe, if I am being completely honest with myself, and NOT being concerned about bragging rights amongst my friends when I return home, that I enjoyed them EVEN MORE than Henry Cow. Is that somehow possible?? And the second show actually confirms that I enjoyed them more! Which was a lot to think about and to process.

    so, in this case, it wasn’t an album per-se that impacted me, although the album pictured, their second, is a fine slab of wax, and contains the vast majority of what they were performing those nights. But what impacted me and opened my eyes were a few things:

    1. Never dismiss an artist that you aren’t familiar with; you’re there and they are going to play whether or not you pay attention or not, so give the experience an open mind and a fair chance.

    2. Don’t be a small minded nationalist; just because they are from someplace that you don’t know or speak a language that you don’t understand, don’t assume they have nothing of value to offer to you or to teach to you.

    3. I bought their first album (Batelages) directly from them at the gig (Les Trois Fous wasn’t quite out yet) and later, when I got home, tried to find Les Trois Fou, their second, but nobody was bringing it into the country - and here I thought EVERYTHING would be available in the US, but this record that I very much wanted was NOT available. Why not? And was there other great music by other great bands that maybe I had never heard of, from other non-English speaking countries, that no one bothered to import into the US? Hmmmmmmm!!

    The idea of Wayside Music didn’t begin here, it came a couple of years later, but WHEN the idea came, the lessons I took away from this experience with the Etrons, and how I could have very easily just sat in the bar being pouty and having a beer and have missed ALL of this amazement definitely occurred to me...

    And, ultimately, I think the lesson / knowledge learned here was, for me, perhaps the most valuable musical lesson of all these lessons I’ve mentioned over these days of posts....Even though it wasn't actually about the record. But it was about music and art and ... life.
    Steve F.

    www.waysidemusic.com
    www.cuneiformrecords.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    This space for rent: Well established location. Perfect opportunity for an up and coming smart-ass to benefit from our years of provocation!

    "You run a great label, but sometimes you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    "Death to false 'support the scene' prog!"

    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

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