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Sonar - Skeleton Groove CD (album) cover





4.09 | 2 ratings

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4 stars At 23-1/2 minutes, this EP contains four pieces that were the first to emerge after recording their first album, "A Flaw Of Nature". It was recorded in June 2012 at the Swiss Jazz School in Berne. The composition of all tracks are credited to Stephen Thelen, except "Gordian Knot" which is credited to Bernhard Wagner and Stephen Thelen. Special thanks were sent out to Nik Bartsch, Mike Chadwick, John Schaefer, and Sid Smith.

This album features their classic tri-tone tuned guitars, but with faster overall tempo. The poly-rhythmic structure of their songs is depicted on the back cover which shows a matrix of 3/4, 4/4, and 5/4 time all running simultaneously -- a style which was used on the first two tracks.

Occasional keyboard/synth effects in the background of track 1, "Skeleton Groove (ecoplex remix)", provides a hint of the sounds on the album "Vortex" with David Torn playing eerily soothing, long-sustained guitar notes in the background.

The song "Black Light" makes its first appearance here before being an integral part of the eponymous album released in 2015. The recording here, though, is at a slightly faster tempo, and arranged to be a little more accessible to those who don't get the whole poly-rhythmic thing. In many ways, I like this arrangement better than the one on their later album.

The last two tracks are more in line with the style prevalent on their more recent albums, but they contain some uncharacteristic dramatic flourishes which makes them quite interesting.

This is a wonderful album that offers features not often heard (before) on their other works: faster tempo, background harmonies, and melodic surprises. An easy 4 stars.

wiz_d_kidd | 4/5 |


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