Sonar With David Torn: Tranceportation (Volume 2)

Dan McClenaghan By

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Sonar With David Torn: Tranceportation (Volume 2)
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 compatriot, pianist Nik Bärtsch, is a meticulous rhythmic machine—crisp, crunchy chords and insistent beats, a tension / release dynamic heavy on the tension side of the equation. Almost robotic sounds.

Torn and Sonar followed up Vortex with Tranceportation (Volume 1) (RareNoiseRecords, 2019), and now offer up Tranceportation (Volume 2), recorded at the same sessions as its predecessor. Where Torn's contributions to Vortex were in-the-moment reactions to the music he was hearing—he was originally brought in as a producer, became transfixed by what he heard and decided to add his instrumental artisty to the mix. But the music for the two Transportation sets was composed and arranged with Torn's guitar and live looping magic in mind from the get-go.

The success of this music can be attributed, in part, to the different musical approaches of Torn and Sonar, where Sonar's style can be likened to the precision electro-mechanisms of a space station, while Torn's sounds are like the asymmetrical washes and wavelengths of a solar wind reflected earthward off of the clouds about Mercury.

Tranceportation (Volume 2) is a hypnotic groove fest, twenty-second century cyborg dance music for those enhanced organisms manning that space station. Sonar's Stephan Thelan recommends a comfortable chair and earphones for the listening experience, but it sounds just fine coming in through the recycled atmosphere.

Track Listing

Triskaidekaphilia; Tranceportation; Slowburn; Cloud Chamber.


Sonar: band/orchestra; David Torn: guitar, electric; Stephan Thelen: guitar, electric; Bernhard Wagner: guitar, electric; Christian Kuntner: bass, electric; Manuel Paquinelli: drums.

Album information

Title: Tranceportation (Volume 2) | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: RareNoiseRecords

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