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Sonar - Sonar & David Torn: Vortex CD (album) cover

SONAR & DAVID TORN: VORTEX

Sonar

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.15 | 44 ratings

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BrufordFreak
5 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.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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