Sonar - Black Light

Cuneiform Records · 20,805 views
Watch Sonar - Black Light video. The Sonar - Black Light video uploader Cuneiform Records says about, "Black Light" by Sonar from the album 'Black Light' (Cuneiform Records)

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Sonar:
Stephen Thelen - Guitar
Bernhard Wagner - Guitar
Christian Kuntner - Bass
Manuel Pasquinelli - Drums

Far too many groups are described using the words "nobody sounds like them," but with Switzerland's Sonar, it's a description of rare verisimilitude. At a time when most guitarists' acumen is measured in notes per second, Sonar is, instead, the confluence of rigorously considered writing, collective restraint, and a sound instantly recognizable as much for what is not there as for what is. A musical animal that manages to engage the mind while hitting the heart and the feet (despite its disposition towards complex polyrhythms), to call SONAR "instrumental rock" is unfairly reductionist for a group whose purview extends beyond progressive rock into contemporary classicism...certainly minimalism...a subtle taste of jazz...and, on its latest album, Black Light, perhaps even a hint of surf music described by the group's primary composer, guitarist Stephan Thelen, as "Duane Eddy Meets Jackson Pollack.

Thelen may cite King Crimson, the compositional rigour of Nik Bärtsch, and minimalist composer Steve Reich amongst SONAR's more obvious touchstones but, just as its previous albums did, Black Light manages to come out of the gate sounding like none of them. An integrated team of players who place music ahead of ego, guitarists Thelen and Bernhard Wagner relentlessly eschew flashy gymnastics and even largely avoid the usual arsenal of effects beyond a touch of reverb and a bit of distortion; Christian Kuntner is a lithe, dancing and eminently intuitive bassist while, at the same time, providing a potently visceral foundation; and Manuel Pasquinelli accomplishes the seemingly impossible feat of simultaneously delivering multiple rhythms in real time.

Black Light also represents the first time Sonar has recorded with an outside producer in tow. And what a producer: David Bottrill, whose work as a producer and/or engineer, in addition to Crimson, Peter Gabriel and Tool, also includes time spent with Rush, Smashing Pumpkins and Dream Theater. "The music is at once simple and complex," Bottrill writes at his website, "polyrhythms over melodies over thunderous bass and a drummer who can seem to split his own body in half to play in two or more different meters at once." Recorded live in the studio with no overdubs, Black Light is as in-the-moment as it gets and is a perfect representation of this band and what this band does!

"Sonar has defied the norm by crafting something singular and magical."
– The Buffalo News

"I wasn't sure how further it was possible to stretch the formula of previous albums, but Black Light stretches Sonar's sound and style to a new level of intensity and effectiveness."
– Igloo Magazine

"Complex, minimal instrumental grooves that are so loping and locked in place that the slightest variation of articulation, the briefest solo, have monumental effect. [Like] watching the movement of the most beautifully made clock you've ever seen."
- The Big City Blog

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