Art Zoyd

Ubique

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It seems that the symphony orchestra becomes a temptation for every aging rock group, even one so unique and avant-gardist as Art Zoyd. Ubique (or "u.B.I.Q.U.e.," to reproduce the title's spelling) is a symphonic poem composed by Art Zoyd leader Gérard Hourbette for the quintet augmented by a 41-piece orchestra led by ex-Univers Zero Michel Berckmans. For this occasion, Art Zoyd consisted of Hourbette, Patricia Dallio, and Emma Stephenson Poli on samplers and keyboards; original drummer Daniel Denis; and percussionist Mireille Bauer, best known for the years she spent in Pierre Moerlen's Gong. The "Orchestre d'u.B.I.Q.U.e." is a gigantic beast comprising 13 guitarists, three bassists, a big horn section, and ten drummers! Despite all that, the music seems to lack power. In fact, the orchestra adds nothing noticeable to Art Zoyd's sound, which already drew heavily on orchestra samples. Live, it must have been totally different, but on record, Ubique is less in-your-face than group-only effort Metropolis, which came out two years later. If the music is not as powerful as the extravaganza promised, the writing remains pure Hourbette: creepy, martial, progressive. The symphonic poem consists of two movements. Some sections of "Glissements Progressifs du Plaisir" had been included in the group's 1997 soundtrack for the silent film Haxan. Here it is featured in an extensively revised version. The use of an orchestra makes the group's music sound less scary and more pompous, but it cannot take away all of its Gothic appeal.

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