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, Stephan Thelen

More info
http://cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/black-light

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Gutbucket - A Modest Proposal – This (the band's fourth album) was the first I'd heard of Gutbucket, but it impressed me so that I immediately tracked down their second and third albums (Dry Humping the American Dream and Sludge...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues