|Univers Zero's New Music fusion of rock and classical music has been discussed by Focus magazine: "... while ensembles like the Kronos and Brodsky quartets have filtered into the rock world by way of guest appearances or loosely adapting rock music, Univers Zero have been single-handedly bridging the two disparate worlds by integrating a frontline rhythm section into their dark scores. And what a powerhouse pulse machine it is..."
This is UZ's 2nd release since reforming in the late 1990's. and leader/composer/drummer/keyboardist Daniel Denis builds upon the rich legacy of Univers Zero's work, using both the acoustic colorations of their earliest releases (bassoon, oboe, harmoniums) as well as the interest in electronic keyboards and synthesis that marked their later releases. While working with this legacy, Denis is not afraid to experiment, and the music on Rhythmix includes a total of 10 musicians, including some performing on instruments like flute, trumpet, acoustic guitar, marimba and accordion, all of which are instruments that are not normally thought of in the context of Univers Zero, in addition to the violin, bassoon/oboe, piano/harmonium, bass, drums, etc. that we all knew would be there!
Univers Zero were founding member of the original “Rock In Opposition” [R.I.O.] movement, and considered to be one of the greatest avant-garde bands of the 70’s & 80’s, Univers Zero were originally founded in 1974. For the first five years, they were co-led by Daniel Denis & Roger Trigaux. After 2 albums, 1313 (1977) & Heresie (1979), Trigaux left to found Present. Univers Zero continued on with Denis at the helm to release Ceux De Duhors (1981), Crawling Wind (1983), UZED (1984) and Heatwave (1986) until their original breakup in 1987. They play fascinating, modern, chamber music-influenced rock. Simultaneously gothic and futuristic, they are somewhat like the very best of Magma or Crimson, but infinitely darker, with a touch of Eastern European folk melodies added. 1313 is a unique disc of dark, mostly acoustic chamber rock. Heresie is absolutely one of the darkest recordings ever made. Ceux De Duhors and UZED are more overtly electric, and use reeds, strings, keyboards, bass, and drums. Crawling Wind, originally released as a limited edition, Japanese only 12" EP & long unavailable, has been remastered and expanded, with the addition of rare and never before released studio and live material, to a full length album. It additionally includes a short history of the group written by noted writer Dean Suzuki, a long time fan of the band. The band reformed in the late 1990's, & Cuneiform released The Hard Quest in 1999 to univers(al) acclaim. It is every bit as good as you would hope it would be. Univers Zero's distinctive sound is a combination of their unique instrumentation (piano and keyboards, violin, clarinets, oboe/bassoon, bass, and drums) blended with Gothic imagery and an intensely strong, classically influenced writing style. In the hands of some of the best musicians of Europe, these factors lead to a group on the cutting edge of creating a new, vital and different approach to rock music.
"...a must for lovers of adventurous music".- Keyboard.
"A remarkably subtle weaving of rock, classical, and avant garde tactics..." - Alternative Press.
"If Stravinsky had a rock band, it would sound like this. Blazing, white hot, medieval"-Advocate Newspapers.
"Univers Zero reaches back to the sound of their very 1st album & hits pay dirt. The Hard Quest combines the spidery sound of 1313 with the compositional gestures of mature U.Z. Brilliant."-Dean Suzuki.
"The fall of Rome? The parting of the Red Sea? What else can compare with the monumental occurence of a new slab of Univers Zero...the world's finest musical ensemble!-Mike Ezzo/Exposé #18.
"Univers Zero's vision [is] pretty much unique & for those touched by it, nothing else will quite do...a sound that really couldn't be any other band in the world."-The Rough Guide To Rock