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Les Eaux Troubles

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Album Review

A follow-up to Sirius and the Ghosts, this CD continues to circle around the Univers Zero soundworld, of which Denis was co-creator way back in 1975-76. Over the years, the loose coalition of Univers Zero members was never too stable, but strong musical and personal bonds were obviously established, because no less than three additional Univers Zero members join Denis on Les Eaux Troubles (Guy Segers on bass, Andy Kirk on guitar and Dirk Descheemaeker on reeds). Perhaps because of the concentration of alums, this CD has more of the signature Univers Zero sound than Denis's previous release, right from the opening track "Les Portes," and with Denis's drums thundering and crashing, and the bass laying down its strong, deep grooves. It would be wrong, though, to suggest that Denis was merely trying to re-create the old Univers Zero sound. There's impressive variety in the thirteen pieces on this CD, and Denis continues to experiment with various instrumental textures, using a bass tuba in place of a guitar bass on "Opus Rictus," and some experimental tape splicing as a lead-in to "Electronika Mambo-Musette." Strange musical jokes surface from time to time, such as the woozy, wobbling theme of "Histoire Belge" (perhaps a critical commentary on Belgium's reputation as a world leader in Valium consumption), and the somewhat atypical "Bulgarian Flying Spirit Dances," which interprets Balkan rhythms and motifs through a dark Univers Zero lens. The CD ends strongly with the long "Second Presage" (the first "Presage" surfaced as an outstanding track on the Univers Zero recording Uzed). It's an abrasive but exhilarating romp through numerous key and tempo changes which proves that the Univers Zero formula (if you could call it that) can still be compelling.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The co-founder, chief composer, and leader of Belgian gothic band Univers Zero, Daniel Denis revealed a more sensitive side on two solo albums -- Sirius and the Ghosts and Les Eaux Troubles -- during a hiatus from the band in the early '90s. While the albums retained the acoustic/electric approach of Univers Zero, Denis coaxed a variety of textures from a blend of synthesized keyboards and percussion, supplemented by a wide array of instruments -- including clarinet, saxophone, cello, recorder, and...
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Les Eaux Troubles, Daniel Denis
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