Tranceportation Volume 2 is the next destination in Sonar’s ongoing musical journey as the Swiss-based band celebrates 10 years of cutting-edge music-making.
Once again the quartet formed in 2010 have joined forces with internationally-respected experimental guitarist, David Torn, to deliver an album brimming with a sound that's marked by bold, resonant creativity.
The group’s polyrhythmic approach, utilising various elements of tension, release, space and dynamics rewrites the rules about what guitar-dominated music is capable of achieving.
Sonar’s founder, guitarist Stephan Thelen, whose work has been performed by the Kronos Quartet, brings forward a further instalment of compositions that seamlessly blend a pointillistic, metrical complexity with deep subterranean grooves that engage both the heart and the mind of the listener.
“Throughout my life, music has served as a means of transportation for me — something that can take one’s mind on a journey beyond the constraints of space and time and into beautiful, strange and unknown worlds,” says Thelen. “An intense way to experience this, and one I recommend for this album, is to find a comfortable chair and a good pair of headphones, close your eyes and go for the ride.”
As with 2018’s Vortex, and last year’s Tranceportation Volume 1, the regular quartet of Stephan Thelen (tritone guitar), Bernard Wagner (tritone guitar), Christian Kuntner (tritone bass), Manuel Pasquinelli (drums, percussion) are joined by Grammy-nominated guitarist David Torn.
Torn’s in-demand playing and production work have seen his name alongside artists as diverse as David Sylvian, k.d. lang, Tori Amos, Madonna, David Bowie, Jeff Beck, Laurie Anderson, King Crimson’s Bill Bruford, and Tony Levin, as well as numerous jazz luminaries including Don Cherry and Jan Garbarek.
Torn doesn’t hide his delight at working with Sonar, regarding his highly idiosyncratic live-looping and freewheeling, acerbic soloing as a kind of glue that strengthens the passion and energy within Sonar’s music. “99.9% of what I do is completely live with the band. Most of what I do isn’t soloing. It’s bringing in textural events that can sometimes go on for minutes. . . and then the solo voice becomes like almost like the cherry on top.”
Moving with the crisp metronomic precision that’s the cornerstone of the sonic architecture, textural waves and wild harmonic contrasts form a propulsive, urgent dialogue that’s constantly in motion and constantly evolving - much like Sonar itself.
Recorded in Bellmund, Switzerland during a marathon five-day session that yielded over 80 minutes worth of material. The first half of the recordings were released as Tranceportation Volume 1 in November 2019. Volume 2 completes that particular cycle in the band’s journey and is scheduled for May 2020.
Praise for Sonar:
“Had MC Escher made music instead of drawing impossible and perplexing perspectives, it would sound like Sonar”
“The result is a compelling juxtaposition of Sonar’s disciplined approach and Torn’s unpredictability.”
Avant Music News
“Big, hard, heavy bass and drums laying down something . . .which sounds like modernistic - or maybe futuristic - robotic surf rock, over which Torm paints wide swathes of neon luminescence.”
All About Jazz
“All throughout Tranceportation Torn’s genius is often found in the ways he enhances Sonar, not dominate them.”
Static Motion (2014) is without doubt a precision-based project. The compositions are like sculptures with every contour serving a purpose.
“As Sonar continues to evolve, so too, does its overall concept and musical philosophy - an enigmatic vision that truly sounds like nothing else out there.”
released June 26, 2020
David Torn electric guitar, live looping
Stephan Thelen tritone guitar
Bernhard Wagner tritone guitar
Christian Kuntner tritone bass
Manuel Pasquinelli drums, percussion
supported by 90 fans who also own “Tranceportation Vol.2”
On the first track, the Kronos Quartet plays a composition Stephan Thelen wrote for it. Kronos is and for a long time has been my favorite for contemporary art music. It is very selective about what it chooses to perform, and everything it chooses to perform is well worth listening to. The other three tracks are also superb Thelen compositions, here performed superbly by the Al Pari Quartet. John Simms
supported by 86 fans who also own “Tranceportation Vol.2”
As a big fan of the first Fractal Guitar album I had to restrain myself not to buy it before Bandcamp Friday arrived. No-brainer for me (the more as Stephan Thelen now is part of the MoonJune family).
And to repeat myself: Music that is as abstract as accessible, a real treat!
Stephan, bei Teil 3 bin ich auch wieder dabei :-) Carsten Pieper
supported by 78 fans who also own “Tranceportation Vol.2”
This is an excellent album from Markus Reuter, accompanied by Fabio Trentini on Fretless Bass and Asaf Sirkis on acoustic drums recorded live in the studio. The interplay among these musicians is amazing throughout and, for me, this is true "progressive" music, as it charts new territory and leaves behind well-trodden cliches. It's challenging music that rewards a mindful listen. Put it on and listen through the whole album without modern social media distractions and you will see what I mean. Jerry F