“Univers Parallèles presents us with two around twenty-minute slices of sparse piano wonderings and low-key sound making. It’s a release that shifts between just awakening drowsiness, and very creepy unease, with each track managing to create its own distinctive, and compelling atmosphere. The release appears as a CD/digital download on Slovenia-based Inexhaustible Editions, who are rapidly becoming one of my favourite labels. As they’ve been putting out some of the most worthy and interesting releases within the genres of acoustic and/or electronic improvisation, modern composition, and generally low-key sound making. This release comes presented in sparse black and white fold-out four-panel mat digipack, this features minimal texts, and on its inside flaps we have rather sound mood fitting monochrome photos of blurred woodland. The CD release has an edition of three hundred copies, and as of this review, the label still has copies.
The release brings together Swiss pianist Judith Wegmann who has both groundings in classical and improvised music. And prolific French composer, improviser and multi-instrumentalist Bruno Duplant who handles sounds and electronics here.
Both tracks here run at exactly the 23.23 mark, and first up we have Univers Parallèles #1. And this is the more mellow and lulling of the two tracks, and to me, creates a feeling akin to walking from restful-if-slightly uncomfortable slumber and trying to get your bearings. Wegmann plays out a slowly drift selection of mid and low notes, to which Duplant adds in what sounds like creek boat/water recordings, slow bowing hums, moody string neck slides, and waving low-key forks ‘n’ whistles. Together these elements create a most entrancing track, which is both lulling, yet eventful.
Next/lastly, we have Univers Parallèles #2, and this is very much the Yang to the first track pleasing Yin drift. Here we find Wegmann playing tighter and clustered mid-ranged notes and the occasional bounding low. And Duplant adds in more creepy boat like creaks, subtly waving electro tone unease, and a selection of low-key neck slides, creepy string scuttles, and later odd breathing tones. With this track I’m getting a very creepy and haunted vibe, as if you’re lost in a hazy pre-dawn forest and you’re sure you are being watched and slowly followed.
Each of the tracks here are wonderfully balanced and nuanced in their blend of each players elements, and I just love the way the first track is hazy and mellow, while the second is full of dark mystery and creepy unease. With both coming together to create a wholly compelling album.
Before this release I wasn’t aware of Judith Wegmann so this has certainly got me keen to hear more of her work, I was familiar with Mr. Duplant’s work from his releases on both Elsewhere and Another Timbre. In conclusion, Univers Parallèles is a spellbinding and quietly compelling record, which I’ve found myself returning to again and again over the last few weeks. If you enjoy sparse and highly atmospheric mixes of piano and moody sound making – this is a must!" - Roger Batty