All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Markus Reuter featuring Sonar and Tobias Reber: Falling for Ascension

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Billed as a minimalist groove band, the Swiss musicians performing under the moniker Sonar recently collaborated with experimental guitar hero David Torn on the widely heralded, Sonar with David Torn (Rare Noise, 2018). And here, they merge their unique craft with one of the reigning touch style guitar pioneers, Markus Reuter along with his partner from Stick Men and active King Crimson member, Tony Levin (Chapman Stick) and Security Project, ex-King Crimson WARR guitarist Trey Gunn. Here, Reuter and live electronics ace Tobias Reber work through Sonar's customary, minimalist stylization that projects a trance-like effect. The music is steadily mesmerizing yet not lightweight by design.

As a point of interest, Reuter advises: "for me the striking thing about this album is that the themes and melodies and rhythms that you're hearing were written when I was 14 years old. I had these little motifs set aside for such a long time and I never knew what to do with them." In addition, Reuter formed these pieces as modules, largely containing Arnold Schoenberg's 12-tone row system, and assigned to an individual performer. Many of these works are concisely woven together. The guitarists' nimble picking ride above Christian Kuntner's sturdy bass lines amid the ostinato theme-building processes, intermittently tinted with the essence of forceful King Crimson style advancements.

Reuter multitasks and often contrasts Kuntner with fluent fingering/tapping techniques and Tobias Reber's textural electronics permutations, usually residing in the background. Moreover, Kunter and drummer Manuel Pasquinelli are the stabilizers with their off-centered and slippery rock pulses that snugly align with the recurring grooves and sustain-centric guitar riffs, rolling along at a slow to medium tempo. On "Condition III" the ensemble's movements are akin to climbing a stairway, reinforced with swirling soundscapes. However, their minimalist discipline is not far from what eminent composers Philip Glass and Steve Reich abide by, where one mistake—incorrect note, improper key or pace—by an instrumentalist within a regimented unison flow could conspicuously throw everything out of whack.

The final and lengthiest track (22-minutes) boasts a terse melody line and Kunter's snappy hits, as the band changes the harmonic component with Reber's brooding EFX shadings to instill imagery of a voyage into a forbidden zone, underscored by the bassist's stout lines. Hence, Sonar, Reuter and Reber dislodge many of the conventional attributes associated with progressive rock via this compelling production that intimates a new paradigm that is the antithesis of tried and true formats.

Track Listing: Condition I; Condition II; Condition III .Condition IV; Condition VI; Condition VII; .Unconditional.

Personnel: Stephan Thelen: guitar; Bernhard Wagner: guitar; Christian Kuntner: bass guitar; Manuel Pasquinelli: drums; Tobias Reber: live electronics; Markus Reuter: touch guitars® U8, soundscapes.

Title: Falling for Ascension | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Ronin Rhythm Records


comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Falling for Ascension

Falling for Ascension

Ronin Rhythm Records



1K Recordings



Hypnos Recordings


Related Articles

Read Ancestros CD/LP/Track Review
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Bitter Suite CD/LP/Track Review
The Bitter Suite
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 18, 2018
Read Ornettiquette CD/LP/Track Review
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Astral Revelations CD/LP/Track Review
The Astral Revelations
by John Sharpe
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Sound Of The Earth CD/LP/Track Review
The Sound Of The Earth
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2018
Read Return to the Future CD/LP/Track Review
Return to the Future
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 17, 2018
Read "Oriental Orbit" CD/LP/Track Review Oriental Orbit
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 19, 2018
Read "The Asylum Years" CD/LP/Track Review The Asylum Years
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "Pond Life" CD/LP/Track Review Pond Life
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "Israeli Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Israeli Jazz
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 2, 2018
Read "While We Still Have Bodies" CD/LP/Track Review While We Still Have Bodies
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 14, 2018
Read "Džiazlaif" CD/LP/Track Review Džiazlaif
by Vitalijus Gailius
Published: June 14, 2018