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Sonar Sonar & David Torn: Vortex album cover
3.92 | 106 ratings | 4 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2018

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Part 44 (9:56)
2. Red Shift (10:31)
3. Waves and Particles (7:49)
4. Monolith (10:47)
5. Vortex (9:37)
6. Lookface! (7:13)

Total Time 55:53

Bonus tracks on 2018 LP release:
7. Monolith (live) (7:48)
8. Part 44 (live) (9:04)

Line-up / Musicians

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

- David Torn / guitar, loops, Fx, production & mixing

Releases information

CD RareNoise Records ‎- RNR087 (2018, UK)

2xLP RareNoise Records ‎- RNR087LP (2018, Switzerland) With 2 bonus Live tracks

Digital album

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy SONAR Sonar & David Torn: Vortex Music

SONAR Sonar & David Torn: Vortex ratings distribution

(106 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

SONAR Sonar & David Torn: Vortex reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Now here is something truly interesting: Swiss instrumental Math Rock band, master of heady polyrhythmic constructs, has guitarist extraordinaire David Torn sitting in and lifting their songs geometrically with his sonic magic.

1. "Part 44" (9:56) bass, drums and two guitars establish a fabric over which David Torn adds his guitar meanderings. The frequent shifting of chords between the two arpeggiating guitars makes this quite interesting and engaging. At 2:40 there is a shift into lower octaves that gives Torn's guitar more prominence (which he could take more advantage of). By the end of the fourth minute the baseline weave thins for a while as Torn disappears. The bass gets prominence here until a sudden thunder bolt of static bursts in at 4:55: Torn is ready to tear it up. After a minute of more static, David finally does just that--piercing the treble lines with some shrill notes. Towards the end of the seventh minute, his solo becomes more active--and continues to do so for the next glorious ninety seconds. After that the drums and bass are left to "clean up" beneath Torn's sustained scream. Nice job--as a band! (9/10)

2. "Red Shift" (10:31) opens with strumming guitars and jazzy cymbal play with simple bass. At 0:55 there is a key shift but the fabric remains essentially the same. At 1:36 there is a shift into more oppositional polyrhythmic strumming and then picking from the two guitars. (Still no Torn.) A quiet passage at the end of the third minute hails the arrival of Mr. Torn. An extended solo passage of David Torn's most unbridled soloing starts around 3:10, escalates, and lasts into the second half of the sixth minute. The song then plays out in a quieter, less dynamic version of the first two minutes.(9/10)

3. "Waves And Particles" (7:49) a slow, subtly developing whole-band weave of the KING CRIMSON "Discipline" style- -until David lets loose in the second half. Man, this guy can make a guitar sing and scream and wail like NOBODY else! (9.5/10)

4. "Monolith" (10:47) radio-like sound frequencies are interspersed with two (and later three--Torn's) guitars each doing their own thing in contribution to the polyphonic weave. Again, the most interesting part of this otherwise- dull song is Torn's soloing in the middle (sixth through eighth minutes). (8/10)

5. "Vortex" (9:37) drums and deep bass notes play a little more prominently into the polyrhythmic weave from the start of this one. In the second minute one of the guitars (R) tries to spice it up a bit with a faster arpeggio and then some heavy reverb and long sustain. At 2:35 the left guitar takes a turn in the lead with some strumming. Then ride cymbal is played while David Torn's single sustained note enters and takes the fore. The ensuing solo, over the band's excellent low-based weave, is awesome. Then, just as suddenly, at 3:50, Torn crescendoes and fades while everyone else quiets down. Halfway through the fifth minute, David makes a return appearance before the drums and right guitar resume their place in the most interesting spots in the soundscape. Odd guitar sounds (except to those fans of Adrian Belew) sneak in from time to time as the band fades down and out of the mix, only to return in a cool way at 7:20. Torn begins to shred and tear at the skies again soon after. Guitars return in support in the final minute as band mounts a final cresendo beneath Torn's rents. Second best song on the album. (9.5/10)

6. "Lookface!" (7:13) what causes this song to stand out is its full-out start: everybody bursting into their power moves, all at the same time, from the song's opening note. Then, in a reversal of expected patterns, the song becomes quiet and delicate in the second half. Brilliant and very engaging! The best song on the album! (9.5/10)

Five stars; a masterpiece of King Crimson Discipline-inspired instrumental progressive rock music.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars Right now I consider this my third favourite record from 2018 after the works of Dewa Budjana and ALL TRAPS ON EARTH. And I have to mention another trio of albums starting with "Vortex" which is the first five star SONAR album for me and no it's not a coincidence that this is where David Torn gets on the bus. And the appeal of this one is his upfront presence. It's like he let his hair down(and he has a lot of it) impressing to no end the other four musicians involved.

2019's "Fractal Guitar" by SONAR's leader Stephan Thelen is a five star affair where Torn and many other guitarists show their unique skills. Love that record and my favourite from that year. Finally "Tranceportaion II" from SONAR released in 2020 makes such a great trio of like-minded albums but with each having it's own flavour and this third record I'm mentioning again has Torn on it but it's the other two guitarists and the bass player using tritone instruments that sounds so incredible.

The music here was recorded live in studio over three days in Switzerland and I'm so glad Torn was there and not just mailing in his parts. In fact Torn produced and mixed this recording. Again Thelen is the main composer here but everyone chips in when it comes to that. So we get three guitarists, a bass player and a drummer. The liner notes are nothing but pictures of the band at the studio and they are meaningful and show a real bond already between Torn and the rest of the guys. This is such a consistent record which I like, in fact five of the six tracks I'd rate at 5 stars leaving "Monolith" as the one lone non-killer track. Still really good and the longest at almost 11 minutes but man those other five have me scratching my head as to which one is the best, or even a top three.

I was always drawn to the closer "Lookface!" as it hits the ground running while the others usually build. A heavy rhythm section on this one with Torn soloing over top. "Red Shift" has to be a tip of the hat to that Space Rock band from the UK. Strummed guitar is different to open but it works as drums and bass kick in. This trips along mid-paced and it sounds amazing. Love when the guitar rises out of that calm around 4 1/2 minutes. Torn is back soloing late. "Waves And Particles" is a drifting track as Torn comes and goes. This just sounds so good.

The title track like others opens with the band tripping along until around 3 1/2 minutes when everything is amped up. So good! We get a calm then it builds and this sounds incredible ending with Torn and some really good drum work just before 8 minutes. And yet the opener "Part 44" might be the best of the bunch. Torn puts on a show and this just "sounds" so good and at 10 minutes it's a ride but Torn kills on the second half of this one.

This one for me is mostly about the David Torn influence, it's very strong and less so moving forward.

Latest members reviews

4 stars To the Swiss band SONAR's music is attributed the notion of "mathematical music". To be even more precise, I would rather say that this is a geometrical music, sometimes asymmetrical, that it seems like reconstructing Euclidean theorems in a multidimensional spaces. Their last album, "Vortex", is b ... (read more)

Report this review (#2080641) | Posted by dion | Monday, December 3, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Sonar is a pioneering band from Switzerland, founded in 2012. Their name represents a certain architectural genre that solidifies the music, which means that they intend to create diversified and highly structured avant-garde rock. In terms of style, they are minimalist. They have two three-stringed ... (read more)

Report this review (#1912412) | Posted by mitarai_panda | Thursday, April 5, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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