Belgian band Univers Zero started out in 1974. They are a founding member of the original 'Rock In
Opposition' [R.I.O.] movement and the inventor of 'chamber rock'.
Leader Daniel Denis reformed the band in 1997.
Since 2004, the band has been touring again, resulting in a live album in 2006.. In 2006 they released their first-ever live recording, "Live", and an archival release of unheard late 80s recordings, "Relaps", followed in 2008.
July 2015, the band performed at Zappanale. They included Frank
Zappa's 'King Kong' in their setlist for the occasion.
|1||univers zero: univers zero
(1978, lp, ??)
|2||univers zero: heresie
(1979, lp, ??)
|3||univers zero: ceux du dehors
(1981, lp, ??)
|4||univers zero: crawling wind
(1983, k7, ??)
|5||univers zero: uzed
(1984, lp, ??)
|6||univers zero: heatwave
(1987, lp, ??)
|7||univers zero: the hard quest
(1999, cd, ??)
|8||univers zero: rhythmix
(2002, cd, ??)
|9||univers zero: implosion
(2004, cd, ??)
|10||univers zero: live
(2006, cd, usa, cuneiform)
|11||univers zero: relaps - archives 1984 - 1986
(2009, cd, usa, cuneiform)
|12||univers zero: clivages
(2010, cd, usa, cuneiform rune 295cd)
|univers zero: zappanale 26
(2015, dvdr, ger, arf society) - incl. 'king kong' (frank zappa)
artists: zappanale # 26
(2016, 3cd, ger, arf society) - incl. various frank zappa compositions, feat. napoleon murphy brock, ike willis, denny walley, jeff hollie, craig twister steward, ed mann, robert martin, albert wing, ray white, tom fowler, robbie mangano, mats öberg
Zero was founded in 1974. It evolved out of Necromicon, a group
founded by legendary drummer/ percussionist Daniel Denis and trumpet
player Claude Deron and named after a locale in H. P. Lovecraft’s
work. By May 1974, desiring to celebrate its European roots, the band had
renamed itself Univers Zero, after a novel by Belgian writer Jacques
Sternberg. During its first five years, under the co-leadership of composers
Daniel Denis and Roger Trigaux (also the group’s
guitarist), Univers Zero utilized a mixture of primarily acoustic classical and
rock instrumentation to record 2 albums. In 1979, Trigaux left the
band to found Present, and Univers Zero continued on with Denis at the
helm. During the 1980s, Univers Zero was without question one of the most
adventurous bands on the international rock scene. Distinctive but never
stagnant, Univers Zero’s sound evolved and progressed with each of several new
lineups during this decade. Their releases during this time show new
experimentation with electronic elements such as samples, and integration of
more electric instruments (keyboards and a more prominent electric guitar) into
its sonic mix, producing a bolder and more ‘contemporary’ sound that was as
sophisticated as it was emotive. In 1987 UZ released Heatwave, its first
record on Cuneiform Records, beginning a long-term relationship with the
Shortly after the Heatwave release, Denis disbanded Univers Zero for a decade. During the 1990s and very early 2000s, Cuneiform reissued Univers Zero’s entire back catalogue on CD. The music proved timeless; the reissues received an astounding amount of critical acclaim and helped expand the band’s fan base worldwide. With UZ dormant, Denis released two solo albums – Les Eaux Troubles (1991) and Sirius and the Ghost (1993) – in the US (Cuneiform) and Europe (Musea). As the decade drew to a close, he reformed Univers Zero for a single, sold out appearance at 1997’s FIMAV (Festival International Musique Actuelle Victoriaville) in Canada.
Denis revived UZ at the close of the 20th Century, and proceeded to release a series of recordings that thrilled rock and New Music/classical audiences alike. UZ expanded their acoustic palette with electronics, experimental and jazz elements, and more spacious, melodic compositions for its next, 9th CD, Implosion, released in 2004. AMG noted that “UZ has been producing dark-side chamber music for thirty years, and ‘Implosion’ shows that they’ve not lost their focus or fire.” Implosion’s cover was designed by Belgian filmmaker Philippe Seynaeve, who had begun working on various multimedia projects with the band, one of which was featured at the 2003 Belgian Film Festival at Paris’ Forum des Images.
Univers Zero returned to live performance in 2004 when it celebrated its 30th anniversary. Accompanied by videos/films designed by Seynaeve, Univers Zero has since performed (often headlining) at many of the world’s most prestigious festivals of New Music, world music, progressive music, and jazz. In recent years, Univers Zero has played in the Czech Republic (Alternativa Festival 2006) France (MIMI Festival 2004; Les Tritonales 2004, 2005, 2007; Winter Festival Le Garric 2005), Germany (Art Rock/ Freakshow Festival, 2004), Mexico (Baja Prog Festival 2007 Portugal (Gouevia Artrock Festival 2005), and the USA (NEARfest 2004, The Netherlands (Music Meeting Festival-2004). It has also played numerous recent shows in Belgium, and at Brussells’ Les Halles De Schaerbeek, Hasselt’ Belgie Kunstcentrum, Mouscron’s Centre Culturel M. Staquet, La Louvière’s Théatre Communal De La Louvière, Verviers’ Spirit of 66, Courcelles’ Centre Culturel “La Posterie” 2008, Saint-Gilles’ Centre Culturel Jacques Francq, and festivals at Bruxelles Chapelle Station, Audi Jazz Festival, Prog Festival, and Le Festival des Musiques Progressives de Montreal, in Canada.
Three decades after it was first formed, Univers Zero continues to evolve, continually expanding and experimenting with the boundaries of New Music, and, to quote Exposé, ceaselessly “proving themselves to be one of the best and most important groups on the planet.”