Sunday, September 26, 2010

Univers Zero - Miriodor -- La Maison Francaise - Sep 25 2010

Miriodor - Night 6 of my 8 nights of unique genres begins with a band that is well, kind of in the same prog genre as Magma last week. But not really, as this band has more of a jazz-prog style. At times I feel it is a Frank Zappa meets the more experimental King Crimson. They are from Quebec and play instrumental music with drums, bass, guitar, keyboards and a saxophonist who doubles on keyboards at times. The drummer and keyboardist look like brothers--maybe twins and could be the sons of Wallace Shawn. There is some rock guitar at times and the third song had some really cool funky undulating rhythms. The second to last song began with a great frenzied loop before morphing into a good jazzy rocking number. The last cut, "The Melting Point" had some pop and psyche moves within as the band really was cooking by set's end. So much so, that they were called out for a quick encore which was probably not planned. I was pleased with this set as there was always something interesting going on and the musicians seemed to challenge themselves by trying different moves and rhythms.

Univers Zero - This Belgian group describes themselves as "making chamber music for the apocalypse". I am not sure this set was that dramatic, but it was intriguing. This is their second appearance on US soil in 35 years of playing (And it is US soil legally, although it is subject to French territorial laws as it is on embassy ground--at least as I understand this). They have bass, drums, keyboards, violin, clarinet/bass clarinet, and a winds player who plays bassoon, oboe and clarinet. More instrumental music that follows in the manner of the opener, but having a bit more classical moves within. I was hearing almost a Third Ear Band sound such as their "Alchemy" album, although this sound had a bit less folk and maybe a bit more rock moves. The keyboards solo was excellent as that player seems extremely skilled. They were all very good musicians, but he really stood out. The clarinet player who was handling the talk between songs did a long intro in French where I could only pick out the words "Straight Edge" which turned out to be the name of the next song. I was listening hard to see if they were covering Minor Threat in a weird way, but alas, no. The music was high quality, but not quite as wildly compelling as what I heard the previous week with Magma. Still, it was a solid set of unique modern classical music. They succeed with fans of progressive music and classical music through well thought out songs and masterful playing. And thus, it was a fitting close for the tenth annual Sonic Circuits Festival.

Quote of the Night: From the emcee and Sonic Circuits chief... "And finally thanks to all of you. Because if it wasn't for you, no one would show up.... Yeah, I know. I haven't slept in a long time."

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