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Sonar Sonar with David Torn and J. Peter Schwalm: Three Movements album cover
4.64 | 23 ratings | 2 reviews | 26% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2023

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Movement 1 (16:20)
2. Movement 2 (11:00)
3. Movement 3 (15:08)

Total Time 42:28

Line-up / Musicians

- Christian Kuntner / bass
- Manuel PasquinelliI / drums
- Bernhard Wagner / guitar, live looping
- Stephan Thelen / guitar, programming
- David Torn / guitar, live looping
- J. Peter Schwalm / electronics

Releases information

Label: 7d Media
Format: CD, Digital
June 23, 2023

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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SONAR Sonar with David Torn and J. Peter Schwalm: Three Movements ratings distribution

(23 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SONAR Sonar with David Torn and J. Peter Schwalm: Three Movements reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars SONAR continue to roll in 2023 adding a new flavour to their sound in the form of electronics. Thankyou J. Peter Schwalm for that and any concerns I had were removed after that first listen. He fits right in and adds sounds that almost always work, I'm impressed. He was on Stephan Thelen's latest record "Fractal Guitar 3" from 2022 and obviously left a good impression. "Three Movements conceived and written by Stephan Thelen, based on samples by David Torn. Additional arrangements and improvised contributions by Christian Kuntner, Manuel Pasquinelli, J. Peter Schwalm, David Torn and Bernhard Wagner." And that's our band, a six piece with three guitarists, two doing live looping and the other programming.

Barry Cleveland and Benno Kaiser are both thanked for lending equipment and Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn are thanked for support and advice. Reuter also mixed this record with Stephan Thelen doing the digital editing, mix preparation and mastering. This really is one long piece divided into three movements worth 42 1/2 minutes. I love this stuff. There is so much atmosphere on this record but also this urgency created by the bass and drums. Once again David Torn does his thing and I like the review in the liner notes from the Buffalo News where he says "Atop it all sits iconoclastic guitarist David Torn, like the Buddha on the mountaintop, offering shards of audio poetry in a language you've never heard and yet are somehow familiar with."

Man this works awesome as background music but even better when you immerse yourself in it. Get those headphones on! I have to admit it hard to know what is making all these sounds when you have these three talented guitarists along with the electronics guy laying down soundscapes and lots of atmosphere. Those beautiful high pitched notes that remind me so much of BAUER half way through the "Second Movement" are my highlight but there's so much that continues to unfold on repeated listens. The melancholic synths before 2 minutes on the opener along with those guitar expressions. Repeated themes too.

The "Second Movement" might be my favourite of the three. Check out the atmosphere, so thick to start as high pitched tones come and go. It starts to move around 1 1/2 minutes and turns lush after some abrasive sounds. The 15 minute closer reminded me of both previous tracks which I thought was pretty cool the way this album has a uniform sound to it. Some depth and nastiness comes and goes after 2 minutes and they will return later but this is such an interesting closer the way it plays out especially later on.

Can't say it's my favourite SONAR recording, time will tell but this is a top ten album for me for 2023.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Stephan Thelen has recalled his band of math rockers for another SONAR collaboration, this time with "iconoclastic audio poet" David Torn, while also calling on board keyboard/electronics expert (and Eno collaborator), J. Peter Schwalm.

1. "Movement 1" (16:20) the presence and influence of keyboard/electronics expert J. Peter Schwalm is felt immediately in the much more expanded spectrum of sound presented here; the SONAR sound field by these Math Rockers is typically far-more sparse than this. David Torn's first solo feels forced, too rooted in rock norms, not as expressive of his own highly unique sonic intuition. Luckily, this style is short-lived: the band goes back into more Math Rock polyrhythmic mode, several times building to full-band weave crescendos before devolving into a more open, passive, and spacey soundscape in the thirteenth minute. Christian Kuntner's Tony Levin-like low bass "thrums" always get me--and he times them perfectly (though selectively) throughout this. The tribal-rhythms and beats of the fourteenth and fifteenth minutes are so PETER GABRIEL Passion like! ("Of These, Hope") It's wonderful! Great tune! Welcome J. Peter! (27/30)

2. "Movement 2" (11:00) more industrial space synth sounds open this before the mathematical note- and arpeggio play of the stringed instruments slowly enter and begin to mesh and interweave. It's an awesome weave with a MASERATI-like earworm part in the seventh minute--that is carried forward with some regularity and shadow echoes into the ninth minute. Man! J. Peter Schwalm's electronics makes a huge difference! (18.5/20)

3. "Movement 3" (15:08) opening with more typical SONAR Math Rock guitar weave, joined first by the deep bass thrums of Christian Kuntner and then Van de Graaf generator-like electronic inputs from J. Peter Schwalm's synths. The inputs of David Torn and J. Peter Schwalm are felt in bursts and waves over the course of the next four minutes until the music swells and then clears out for some very deep electronic (bass?) waves. The have no real change in structure or flow until the ninth minute when drummer Manuel Pasquinellil begins to go to town over his cymbals and then entire drum kit--then everybody else seems to jump on the dynamic wagon, though Manuel remains the most impressive. (26.5/30)

Total Time 42:28

The addition of a keyboard/electronics expert certainly does add a lot of breadth to the sonic landscapes of Stephan Thelen and company. Though still built around King Crimson "Discipline"-like Math Rock polyrhythms, the music is far more spacey, less sparse.

A-/4.5 stars; another amazing album of "future world" music from Switzerland's greatest progressive rock export; highly recommended to all prog lovers: this might very well be the best SONAR release yet--even better than 2018's Vortex!

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