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Sonar Black Light album cover
4.17 | 31 ratings | 3 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Enneagram (9:17)
2. Black Light (5:35)
3. Orbit 5.7 (8:38)
4. Angular Momentum (9:26)
5. String Geometry (6:00)
6. Critical Mass (10:35)

Total time 49:31

Bonus tracks on 2015 LP release:
7. Tromsø (Live) (10:23)
8. Twofold Covering (Live) (8:03)

Line-up / Musicians

- Stephan Thelen / guitar
- Bernhard Wagner / guitar
- Christian Kuntner / bass
- Manuel Pasquinelli / drums

Releases information

Recorded "live in the Studio"

Artwork: Bernhard Wagner and Stephan Thelen

CD Cuneiform Records ‎- Rune 414 (2015, US)

2xLP Cuneiform Records ‎- RUNE414LP (2015, US) With 2 bonus Live tracks

Digital album

Thanks to lunarston for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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SONAR Black Light ratings distribution

(31 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SONAR Black Light reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars SONAR are back with a new album that was released in October of 2015. This Swiss band was influenced by KING CRIMSON, Steve Reich, Nik Bartsch and others. If there ever was a band who should be under Math Rock it's these guys. The guitarists and bass player tune their instruments to the tritones so the music is fairly dark along with being minimalistic and complex. For the first time they brought in someone from outside the band to produce and record this album. That would be David Bottrill who recorded it in Zurich before mixing this record in Toronto. Bottrill has worked with TOOL, RUSH, DT, KING CRIMSON and many others. This was recorded live in studio with no overdubs.

"Enneagram" opens with some experimental sounds and it stays minimalistic until it starts to pick up with guitar. This is minimalistic and precise and it sounds really good. "Black Light" does have a "Larks Tongues In Aspic II" vibe according to guitarist Stephan Thelan. It opens with guitar which is the focus for the most part. "Orbit 5.7" is my favourite. I just like the music in relation to the title of this song as it does feel like we are out in deep space. Check it out 3 minutes in as it turns minimalistic and dark. I also dig the sound 5 1/2 minutes in and how it builds 7 minutes in.

"Angular Momentum" is very laid back to start but it becomes even more so 3 minutes in then it builds before it becomes very relaxed again before building again late. "String Geometry" has this repetitive, minimalistic sound to it although I much prefer when it turns fuller 3 minutes in. "Critical Mass" is the closer and longest tune at 10 1/2 minutes. It starts off with some passion before settling right down then building. The opening sound is back after 4 1/2 minutes. It's very mellow before 8 minutes to the end.

I do prefer this one to the last one but not by a lot. Both are solid 4 star albums in my opinion. I just get lost in this album even if Math Rock is not a sub-genre i'm big into.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars Sonar continues to have a major impact on the avant garde and improvisational areas of music and have been doing so ever since guitarists Stephan Thelen and Bernhard Wagner met when taking part in King Crimson co-leader/guitar icon Robert Fripp's Guitar Craft. They soon recruited bassist Christian Kuntner and drummer Manuel Pasquinelli, taking the name Sonar as an abbreviation of SONic Architecture, alluding to the highly structured, polymetric rock they aspired to construct. This was their third album (there have since been more) and was the first time they worked with an outside producer, David Bottrill (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, Tool), who recorded them live in the studio (no overdubs).

There is no doubt that King Crimson are a major impact on Sonar, as are the likes of Trey Gunn and Marcus Reuter, while Thelen also references the compositional rigour of Nik Bärtsch, and minimalist composer Steve Reich, but surely the most apposite quote must be where he says realistically this is, "Duane Eddy Meets Jackson Pollock." Polyrhythms, strange time signatures and tuning, this is music which really is quite nothing else around and it is not surprising that Thelen continues to be an in-demand collaborator with likeminded musicians who want to keep pushing the musical boundaries and refusing to accept any type of normality. This is not something to sit and relax to, as it is all about changing our expectations of what music is supposed to be about and never sits comfortably and instead has us on an edge as we know that whatever is coming is something we need to pay close attention to, so we get the best from it. In recent years Sonar have been releasing albums with David Torn, and this 2015 album was the last they recorded (to date) as a quartet and is worthy of investigation by those who want to walk down musical paths less travelled.

Latest members reviews

5 stars SONOR ARCHITECTURES SONAR is an encryption standing for "SONic ARchitecture", and their music, of an unique simplicity and magic, hypnotic and obsessive, is like defining deconstructions and reconstructions of a lost kenopsystical city resembling the paintings of deChirico. The sonar fluid embr ... (read more)

Report this review (#1705001) | Posted by dion | Saturday, March 25, 2017 | Review Permanlink

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