SONAR WITH DAVID TORN
Swiss quartet team up with US soundscaper to spectacular effect.
When David Torn checked out Sonar’s music, he was immediately taken by their sparse, interlocking compositions. And after arranging to produce Vortex, with the notion of making a few cameo appearances, he ended up playing on every track. Sonar’s music is built from minimal elements in a similar way to the dovetailing guitar patterns of 80s King Crimson, and also the math rock of 90s bands like Don Caballero and Trans Am. But whereas those groups could overcomplicate matters, Sonar’s guitarists Stephan Thelen and Bernhard Wagner operate as one instrument, regularly shifting their emphasis as if surveying each piece from different angles. Bassist Christian Kuntner offers subtle punctuation, while drummer Manuel Pasquinelli is constantly inventive without grandstanding. Meanwhile, Torn hovers in and out of the space they create. On Monolith, clipped guitar notes build up to an almost funky momentum. Torn’s notes bloom into a vast panorama on Waves And Particles, while on Part 44, Pasquinelli’s high-hats and Sonar’s guitarists create a perpetual-motion groove, inviting Torn to weigh in with a ferocious solo.