All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

13

Sonar with David Torn: Vortex

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
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 spontaneous sound.

"Part 44" opens the album with a propulsive multi-sectional composition which guitarist and principal Sonar composer Stephan Thelen adapted from a piece by innovative Swiss minimalist Don Li. It would be a powerful beginning without Torn's contribution. But with his increasingly urgent commentary it reaches another level. "Waves And Particles" features a very free Torn solo, soaring over the shifting groove. A treat for Torn and Sonar fans alike, it demonstrates the synergy they found working together.

"Monolith" is credited to Thelen and Torn. The shifting harmonies build in intensity, and Torn again plays melodies and textures over Sonar's angular rhythms. The title tune is one of Thelen's trademark tritone-harmonics compositions. Complex, but the band really digs into it, and Torn plays some complex complementary lines while simultaneously sounding completely spontaneous. "Lookface!" closes the set with a completely improvised piece, a blast of rock energy. While it may be more direct than the rest of the album, it still sounds of a piece with it. And the slow fade about halfway in leads into an atmospheric ending. More Torn than Sonar, but it feels exactly right.

The Torn/Sonar relationship began with production, the intention being to have Torn occasionally guest on tracks. But the excitement created by Torn's playing quickly elevated him to fifth band member. The results speak for themselves. However unlikely the collaboration may have appeared at first, it now sounds like a perfect marriage. Torn's playing adds another layer to the group's sound, enriching it emotionally and texturally.

Track Listing: Part 44; Red Shift; Waves And Particles; Monolith; Vortex; Lookface!

Personnel: Stephan Thelen: guitar; Bernhard Wagner: guitar; Christian Kuntner: electric bass; Manuel Pasquinelli: drums; David Torn: electric guitar, live-looping & manipulation.

Title: Vortex | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: RareNoiseRecords

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Vortex

Vortex

RareNoiseRecords
2018

buy
Black Light

Black Light

Cuneiform Records
2016

buy
Static Motion

Static Motion

Cuneiform Records
2014

buy

Related Articles

Read Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Vera CD/LP/Track Review
Vera
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 18, 2018
Read In Motion CD/LP/Track Review
In Motion
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Marshian Time Slip CD/LP/Track Review
Marshian Time Slip
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Four On The Road CD/LP/Track Review
Four On The Road
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 17, 2018
Read "Esperanto/Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim" CD/LP/Track Review Esperanto/Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim
by Kevin Press
Published: February 19, 2018
Read "Shifting Standards" CD/LP/Track Review Shifting Standards
by Paul Rauch
Published: May 14, 2018
Read "Synesthesia" CD/LP/Track Review Synesthesia
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 29, 2017
Read "Cochonnerie" CD/LP/Track Review Cochonnerie
by John Sharpe
Published: November 24, 2017
Read "...don't buy him a parrot..." CD/LP/Track Review ...don't buy him a parrot...
by John Sharpe
Published: January 29, 2018
Read "The Darkness Of A Fairy Tale" CD/LP/Track Review The Darkness Of A Fairy Tale
by Gareth Thompson
Published: August 15, 2018