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

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Caamora - Journey's End... An Acoustic Anthology – To recap: Caamora is the musical partnership of Clive Nolan (Arena, Pendragon, Strangers on a Train, etc.) and Polish singer Agnieszka Swita. Last year they recorded an original musical theatre score...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues