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

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

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Billy Currie - Still Movement – Billy Currie’s most recent solo album can be categorized as being squarely in the new age/techno bordering on ambient but within in a slightly more favorable light. Currie has continued to...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues