SONAR with DAVID TORN
Tranceportation (Volume 1)
(2019 - RareNoise Records - UK)
Fresh from a definitive 2019 Best Pick ('Fractal Guitar') for dozens of critics, comes another volcanic album from the collective band Sonar, with the best thing that has ever happened for the outfit, the addition of David Torn. With this special release, the compositions were geared, developed, and designed around Torn's abilities to float each moment far into the black holes of the universe.
All of the pieces are still by Stephen Thelen, but contributions are broad and in full group participation. The canvas is prepared with the very best gesso, allowing everyone to take wide brush strokes, especially the maestro of 'cloud about mercury' sky diving guitar artist Mr Torn. So it is up up and away from the moment and mathematical Fripp verse Godzilla, Haley's Comet chasing astronauts, and glowrings from endless undiscovered planets throughout the album. This is only 'Volume 1' so hang on to your safety belts and adjust your oxygen masks as needed. Operation space ritual, done the way it should have been done, is now in action. Thanks to Manuel Pasquinelli (drums, percussion), Stephan Thelen (tritone guitar), Bernhard Wagner (tritone guitar), Christian Kuntner (tritone bass), and David Torn (electric guitar, loops). Edited and mixed by Stephan Thelen, engineered by Chris Diggelmann, produced by Davd Torn and Sonar, (executive producer was Giacomo Bruzzo) and mastered by Serge Christen. The album was recorded live in the studio April 29 - May 3, 2019, at Mazzivesound Studio (Bellmund, Switzerland).
There is a calm among the foundations of each composition, where Thelen creates a flowing structure and Torn soars in and outside of it. Thelen keeps a foothold as do his original members, while Torn is given full range to fructify, infuse, dangle, charm the stars, supersede, give further vision, and frame Thelen's beautifully spawn patterns with additional bounty. All four pieces (1. Labyrinth 14:26/ 2. Partitions 5:37/ 3. Red Sky 11:14/ 4.Tunnel Drive 7:42) are dripping with reverb, new birth, squirming cradle of unknown original, and wandering luscious gratification. A new math rock as said in my review of his (Stephan Thelen) solo 'Fractal Guitar', and a forbidden fruit of the progressive rock world. Music that establishes a place where propagation is a desire, respiration is necessary, and you must retain your state of being while listening. If not, you may chance getting lost in the sage performance of 'Tranceportation: Volume 1'. MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 12 - 29 - 2019