Band: Sonar

CD Title: Black Light

Website: www.sonar-band.ch

Label: Cuneiform Records (2015)

Rating: Great Stuff 4/5



This Swiss quartet of bass, drums and twin guitars known as Sonar, short for sonic-architecture, craft an instrumental polyrhythmic music that in many ways defies description. Itís been suggested that if M.C. Escher made music rather than paintings it would sound like this. In some ways, the six tracks on Black Light trace a line back to King Crimsonís Larksí Tongues in Aspic without actually sounding like it. More than anything, itís the bandís approach to the creation of the music that makes it so. This is a band where I donít miss hearing a keyboard. Guitars are put to such great use offering up everything from surf-styled tones to mesmerizing repetitive riffs. Add to this the ever changing bass and drum rhythmic patterns and it becomes a heady musical experience that builds in intensity without ever losing sight of the multiple melodies in play. So while there are all manner of intricate minor intervals in play the music never goes off the rails and descends into just calamity. All these elements are held together by some powerful grooves that just suck you into a web of amazing music. Most of these compositions are on the longer side, nine-minutes or better and as expected there are plenty of changes in in time, tempo and structure. Arrangements are such that the music is built, layer upon layer as instruments are introduced, performed, sound changed and so forth. The kick of this is that the whole album was recorded live off the floor with no overdubs! Itís a captivating and thoroughly enjoyable musical experience Ė I loved it and recommend it highly.