Exposé Online banner

Sonolumina — Solar Logos
(Symbolic Insight 0101000, 2012, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2013-10-16

Solar Logos Cover artMusic like that created by Sonolumina has a long history of bringing up the topic of cultural appropriation. Here we've got some Americans taking (or borrowing or stealing, depending on your viewpoint) the instruments and musical sounds of other cultures and using them to create what could be considered either global music or American music with exotic spices. The intentions of the musicians may or may not have any bearing on how this question is decided. I have mixed feelings about this debate. On the one hand, I feel that it should be ignored entirely, and Solar Logos should be judged solely on what comes out of the speakers; on the other hand, nothing exists out of context, and even innocent actions can reveal unpleasant truths. Do we have the same debate (in reverse) when a musician from somewhere outside Europe or North America picks up a guitar and makes music with a Western influence? Are they appropriating someone else's culture? Or are both sides taking part in a process of globalization that (again depending on your viewpoint) is a noble pursuit, bringing the human race together, or the ruination of human diversity? Oh, my brain hurts. You make up your own mind about that issue, and I'll tell you about Sonolumina. This is a hybrid acoustic/electronic project that fuses some advanced technological sounds with many different acoustic instruments, from violin and trumpet to tabla, dumbek, darbuka, and whatnot from around the world, some of it played specially for this recording, some as part of field recordings from India. With a few exceptions, there is a smooth, percolating groove backing the music that is quite infectious. Those exceptions mostly involve harsh distortion that jumps out of the mix, especially on the otherwise good "Fatima." The processed trumpet occasionally sounds reminiscent of the things Mark Isham was doing back in the early 80s. Everything is seamlessly assembled into soundscapes that are sometimes ambient, sometimes rhythmic, and sometimes both at the same time.

Filed under: New releases, 2012 releases

Related artist(s): Sonolumina

Latest news

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 $amp; 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

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Black Tape for a Blue Girl - The Scavenger Bride – I really wanted to like this one. I’d read about Black Tape, and they sounded interesting: female vocals fronting ethereal, classical-inflected music with a kind of Gothic mood, but not the heavy...  (2002) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues