Univers Zero - Rhythmix

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Cuneiform Records
Catalog Number: Rune 165
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:06:00

Barren wastelands sprawl across the horizon, housing a procession of hundreds of strange creatures in the distance, toxic fumes crowding the dark red sky. An aura of curious mystery and grey fate hangs above the panorama, and the curtains above close into a black wall of thick clouds that shadow the primitive inhabitants of this world. Half harbingers of suspenseful fear and tension, half wondrous beings to witness, they move in mechanical marches together, each individual remaining a fascinating unique organic expression. The skyline soon appears again and unveils the red blobs that protrude and disappear on the large boiling sphere above the sky. And although the scene appears inviolable in a gorgeous suffocating balance that is at times majestic and at others frightful, sudden outbursts rip the fabric of awkward serenity, such as the Fly-Toxmen suddenly darting in hordes through the air and the choking fumes. Yet the balance invariably returns with its intrusive tension.

Of such nature is Rhythmix, Univers Zéro's latest chamber gala dressed in post-apocalyptic garb and crowning a world of exotic creatures, landscapes, and customs with intertwining winds, ominous keys, suspenseful percussion, and the occasional strings. Yet words hardly suffice to truly describe the beautiful elegance of a track such as "The Invisible Light," much like words hardly suffice to accurately expose the essence of a Stravinsky, a Mahler, or a Shostakovich. In this, his latest brainchild, Daniel Denis has once again strung the fabric of entire musical entities of such magnitude and profound reach that their impact can hardly be measured in the same terms that other ensembles are measured. The mere notion of trying to grade Rhythmix borders on the puerile, as the album is beyond all mundane measuring. It is a shadow-laden veil of beauty, a journey through unimagined roads, a masterpiece like few others in the world of modern music.

With a velvet glove and a poet's perception at times, Denis and his fellow musicians delve quietly into the worlds that they themselves create, while at others they purposefully create disturbances in the environment that unleash a series of tense chain reactions. Sometimes the world is set in placid blood-red dusk contemplation, sometimes in majestic displays of foreign grandeur, and sometimes in violent outbursts of emotion. Themes reminiscent of Balkan folk music jilt through the air, neurotic jagged bass lines are surrounded by pointy wind staccatos, and gently brooding requiems float through the air. Still, all throughout Rhythmix, the very combustion that fuels each single note comes from within the entirety of Univers Zéro, granting the entire impression an imposing sense of continuity and the very mechanics of the album a mysterious warmth. And it is the mystery, the elusiveness, the unexpected beauty that makes this album not only another jewel in the resplendent history of this Belgian group, but also a vital step in its continued evolution towards immortality.

Similar artists: Art Zoyd, Béla Bartók, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic

Terres Noires (Blacklands) (6:06) / Rêve Cyclique (5:53) / Rouages: Second Rotation (Cogwheels: Second Rotation) (3:38) / The Invisible Light (3:09) / Phobia (5:31) / Zorgh March (3:23) / Zébulon (3:09) / Forêt Inviolée (Secret Forest) (2:19) / Shangha´'s Digital Talks (4:48) / Emotions Galactiques (Galactical Emotions) (5:47) / Waiting For The Sun (3:16) / The Fly-Toxmen's Land (4:50) / Rêve Cyclique (Reprise) (0:50)

Daniel Denis - drums, percussion, keyboards, harmonium
Michel Berckmans - oboe, English horn, bassoon, voice
Aurelia Boven - cello
Ariane de Bievre - flute, piccolo
Dirk Descheemaeker - bass clarinet
Bart Maris - trumpet
Eric Plantain - electric bass
Christophe Pons - acoustic guitar
Bart Quartier - marimba, glockenspiel
Louison Renault - accordion

1313 (1977)
Univers Zero (1978)
Heresie (1979)
Ceux Du Dehors (1981)
Crawling Wind (1983/2001)
Uzed (1984)
Heatwave (1986)
The Hard Quest (1999)
Rhythmix (2002)
Implosion (2004)

Genre: RIO

Origin BE

Added: August 11th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website: www.univers-zero.com
Hits: 1048
Language: english


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