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20

Multiple Reviews

Sonar With David Torn: Tranceportation (Volume 1 - 2)

Read "Sonar With David Torn: Tranceportation (Volume 1 - 2)" reviewed by Mark Sullivan


Swiss art rock/minimalist band Sonar have been collaborating with American guitarist/live looper David Torn since their album Vortex (RareNoiseRecords, 2018). After that they documented live performance together with Live At Moods (7d Media, 2018), and Torn also played a prominent role in Sonar leader Stephan Thelen's Fractal Guitar (MoonJune Records, 2019). Torn had come to the Vortex sessions primarily as producer. But his guest playing slots were so exciting for both him and the band that he was ...

9

Album Review

Sonar With David Torn: Tranceportation (Volume 2)

Read "Tranceportation (Volume 2)" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


In 2018 avant-garde guitarist David Torn fell in with some good company, the Swiss group Sonar, founded by guitarist Stephan Thelen. The result was Vortex (RareNoiseRecords), featuring Torn, who, in his words, contributed: “Textural events that can sometimes go on for minutes...and then the solo voice becomes almost like the cherry on top." Sonar is a two tritone guitar, tritone bass and drums quartet. Torn makes it three guitars. Their music, like that of Thelen and company's Swiss ...

13

Album Review

Sonar With David Torn: Tranceportation (Volume 1)

Read "Tranceportation (Volume 1)" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


The Swiss band Sonar released Vortex (RareNoiseRecords) in 2018, bringing American avant-garde guitarist David Torn along for the ride. The addition of a third guitar to Sonar's two guitar / bass / drums lineup was a crunchy, hypnotic, funk-grooving, hard-driving multi-layered success. A follow-up of sorts, Tranceportation (Volume 1) brings more of the same, and then some. While Torn was originally employed as the producer of Vortex, he apparently found Sonar's music for the planned recording compelling. It ...

7

Album Review

Sonar: Live At Moods

Read "Live At Moods" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki


Recorded Live at Moods jazz club in Zürich (Switzerland) in May 2018, this set reconnects guitar electronics visionary David Torn with the band Sonar. Torn played with Sonar on their previous album Vortex, and this live set picks up three tunes ("Waves and Particles," “Red Shift" and “Lookface!") from that earlier collaboration. How does Sonar make their music sound so different? For starters, founding guitarist Stephan Thelen and Bernhard Wagner play guitars, and Christian Kuntner plays bass, in ...

5

Album Review

Sonar: Live At Moods

Read "Live At Moods" reviewed by Mark Sullivan


Swiss experimentalists Sonar found a new groove on their album Vortex (RareNoiseRecords, 2018): the marriage of their intricate pattern playing with the American guitarist/live looper David Torn's raw emotional abandon created a rich synthesis. This live album is a celebration of that sound, but it is much more than a live version of their collaboration in the studio. Opener “Twofold Covering" starts out in fresh territory, adding Torn to a track from Sonar's Static Motion (Cuneiform Records, 2014). ...

46

Album Review

Sonar with David Torn: Vortex

Read "Vortex" reviewed by John Kelman


It might be all too simple to explain away Sonar, the Swiss twin-guitar/bass/drums quartet now in its eighth year together, through a series of touchstones. King Crimson, by way of that band's co-founder/guitarist Robert Fripp's Guitar Craft? Check. The influence of Nik Bartsch and Don Li's innovative meshing of Steve Reich-ian minimalism with deceptively complicated polyrhythmic and isorhythmic rock/funk grooves, where as much as can be is made of as little as possible? Double Check. Guitarist and primary composer Stephan ...

13

Album Review

Sonar with David Torn: Vortex

Read "Vortex" reviewed by Mark Sullivan


Swiss art rock/minimalist band Sonar have always had a way with a groove, combining repeating patterns (frequently in mixed meters) into a hypnotic blend. In this they have a lot in common with Steve Reich's Musicians (in the new-music world) and fellow Swiss Nik Bärtsch's Ronin (in the jazz world). Sonar has always sounded like a rock band, but somewhat restrained. With American guitarist/looper David Torn as producer and collaborator it has found its id: music with a rougher, more ...


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