Exposé Online banner

Sonar — Black Light
(Cuneiform Rune 414, 2015, CD, LP)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-10-11

Black Light Cover art

One might marvel at the precise mathematical rhythms driven by drummer Manuel Pasquinelli and the band’s three guitarists (Stephan Thelen, guitar and primary composer, Bernhard Wagner, guitar, and Christian Kuntner, bass) which, while difficult to quantify (the band seems to be playing in several time signatures simultaneously at times) still results in very cool and interesting grooves. One might also be mesmerized by the forward-moving trancelike quality of their sound overall, played entirely in tritones, which never seems to highlight the individual player, but instead what can be accomplished as a single telepathic unit with amazing collective restraint. There is none of the flash or pyrotechnic solos typical of most of today’s instrumental rock. In fact, this isn’t really rock and it isn’t really jazz either, but it does owe a lot of credit to both, from mid-70s and mid-80s King Crimson to Pat Metheny’s early work with Lyle Mays, to The Ventures, along with a number of minimalist composers who might be cited at various points along the complex polyrhythmic path that the band treads throughout these six numbers. They opt for a steady hypnotic groove that captivates the listener without the standard rock hooks and riffery – this is above all deep textural music that evolves in several directions in many dimensions simultaneously. But it’s not all simply texture, as melodies do germinate out of the skeletal rhythmics and bloom into colorful kaleidoscopic patterns while the framework behind them continues to evolve and morph into something greater in scope and depth. There is something new and magical revealed with each successive listen to this recordng, you’ll never want to take it off, and if one is really obsessive, you may end up playing it over and over in a loop for hours on end.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Sonar

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Herbie Kritzer - The Tree Lizard – Californian Herbie Kritzer is clearly someone who enjoys having fun with music. Even his name sounds a bit cartoon-ish, and there’s certainly a streak of sly wit and boy-ish playfulness to many of...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues