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Sonar biography
Founded in Zürich, Switzerland in 2010

Sonar is a progressive, post-minimal band from Switzerland. Their name stands for SONic ARchitecture, a name which alludes to their intention of creating polymetric and highly structured avant-rock. They are probably closest in aesthetic to Brandt Brauer Frick and Nik Bartsch Ronin due to their minimalist sound though they play with much more of a rock feel than either of those bands. You'll hear elements of King Crimson & Present. Their sound is uniquely recognizable due to the tuning of the guitars and the bass guitar to tritones (C / F# / C / F# / C / F#).They play highly repetitive layered polyrhythms that move in and out of synch through out the pieces. For such complex layering they play with a stripped down lack of technology with a straight forward 2 guitars, bass, and drums. This is a band to take you to a trance like state with the endless groove.

To date Sonar have released two studio albums, a live album and an EP, the most recent of which is on that bastion of experimental music Cuneiform Records

-- Nogbad_the_Bad (Ian)

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Buy SONAR Music

Static MotionStatic Motion
$14.57 (used)
Black LightBlack Light
$12.56 (used)
Flaw of NatureFlaw of Nature
Unsung Rec. 2012
$17.33 (used)
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Sonar - Black Light [New Vinyl] USD $38.62 Buy It Now
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Broad Casting by Jazzanova (CD, Jul-2006, Sonar Kollektiv) USD $20.00 Buy It Now
12": Franck Roger - Back And Forth EP - Sonar Kollektiv - SK086, Innervisions - USD $6.38 Buy It Now
NEW - El Ave de Mi Sonar: Mexican Sones Huastecos by CAMPEROS DE VALLES USD $5.99 Buy It Now 35m 32s
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NEW sOnar (Audio CD) USD $24.73 Buy It Now 1h 59m
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Lizza Yo Quiero Sonar CD USD $5.99 Buy It Now 3h 8m
Atrevete A Sonar - Catriel (CD Used Very Good) USD $10.77 Buy It Now 3h 21m
Roman Rofalski - Sonar [New CD] USD $16.23 Buy It Now 4h 19m
Solomun Koboldmaki 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2007 NEW USD $8.93 Buy It Now 6h 2m
Trickski Powerhorse 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2007 USD $7.01 Buy It Now 6h 9m
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Roman Rofalski - Sonar [New CD] USD $15.23 Buy It Now 6h 43m
Franck Roger Back And Forth EP 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2006 NEW USD $6.38 Buy It Now 6h 57m
Slope Gemini 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2007 USD $3.82 Buy It Now 7h
Outlines Listen To The Drums Pt. 2 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2007 USD $8.93 Buy It Now 7h 11m
Space In Between Volume 13 German 15track promo CD Sonar Kollektiv USD $3.83 Buy It Now 7h 22m
Thief Hold On, Hold On 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2007 USD $6.38 Buy It Now 7h 34m
Roland Appel Dark Soldier / Changes 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2007 NEW USD $7.65 Buy It Now 7h 35m
Markus Enochson Day And Night 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2006 USD $8.93 Buy It Now 8h
Dr. J Presents 1Luv Neophilia 2 X LP VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2007 USD $12.76 Buy It Now 8h 16m
Skwerl The Flying Squirrel 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2006 NEW USD $2.54 Buy It Now 8h 23m
Two Banks Of Four Junkyard Gods / Go / Queen Of Crows 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv USD $7.65 Buy It Now 8h 24m
Slope Featuring Ovasoul7 Want'choo Longa 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2007 NEW USD $8.93 Buy It Now 8h 32m
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Christian Prommer Beau Mot Plage / Rex Drums 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2007 USD $7.65 Buy It Now 8h 44m
Soultourist / Foster Make It Right / Working 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2005 USD $3.82 Buy It Now 8h 48m
12": Markus Enochson - For You To See - Sonar Kollektiv - SK113 USD $5.10 Buy It Now 17h 43m
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Various - Sonar Pilot - Radar - CD ALBUM (ref 1304) USD $6.38 Buy It Now 23h 43m
Double U Secret Love 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2004 USD $3.82 Buy It Now 1 day
Clara Hill Restless Times / Silent Distance (Remixes) 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv USD $6.38 Buy It Now 1 day
D'Stephanie Feat. Philippo Fierens Future Warrior 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2005 USD $3.82 Buy It Now 1 day
Micatone Plastic Bags & Magazines 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2003 USD $3.82 Buy It Now 1 day
Umod Tromboline / On The Down Low 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2004 USD $3.82 Buy It Now 1 day
Jazzanova - Broad Casting - Sonar Kollektiv - 2006 #196013 USD $7.65 Buy It Now 1 day
Platnum Sweet City 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2005 USD $1.90 Buy It Now 1 day
Micatone Plastic Bags & Magazines 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2003 USD $6.38 Buy It Now 1 day
NEW 5 Canzoni Per Sonar - Sonata No. 2 in E Minor - Le Parnasse (Audio CD) USD $21.82 Buy It Now 1 day
Jazzanova ...Broad Casting 12" VINYL Sonar Kollektiv 2006 NEW USD $3.82 Buy It Now 1 day
VARIOUS ARTISTS - RADIO 1 SONAR 1000, VOL. 3 NEW CD USD $17.91 Buy It Now 1 day
Isabella Castillo - Sonar No Cuesta Nada [New CD] USD $6.75 Buy It Now 1 day
In The Zone by Moodini (CD, Sonar Records) USD $10.99 Buy It Now 1 day
ROXIE Y LOS FRIJOLITOS - Nunca Dejes De Sonar - CD - *BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED* USD $99.95 Buy It Now 1 day
ROXIE Y LOS FRIJOLITOS - Nunca Dejes De Sonar - CD - **Excellent Condition** USD $60.95 Buy It Now 1 day
Dimlite/THIS IS EMBRACING (Sonar Collective sk124cd) CD Album USD $15.01 Buy It Now 1 day
Sonar '98 by Various Artists CD, 4 Discs, So Dens Records Spanish Dance music USD $6.13 Buy It Now 1 day
LOOP Arc-Lite (Sonar/Radar) Sunburst SITUATION TWO 12" VINYL Free UK Post USD $13.54 Buy It Now 1 day
Jesus Enriquez- Motivos Para Sonar- new/sealed cassette tape USD $6.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Recreational Music-Sonar CD NEW USD $11.44 Buy It Now 2 days
LIVE AT SONAR NEW CD USD $13.78 Buy It Now 2 days
JAZZANOVA Pool DOUBLE LP VINYL Europe Sonar Kollektiv 2018 11 Track Limited USD $46.62 Buy It Now 2 days
SONAR NATION Sleepthick Voices 7" VINYL UK Abstract 1994 3 Track USD $4.01 Buy It Now 2 days
State of Euphoria by Soulphiction (CD, Apr-2006, Sonar Kollektiv) USD $21.08 Buy It Now 2 days
JU-JU-JUMP Freedome Come 12" VINYL UK Sonar 3 Track Stamped White Label USD $6.38 Buy It Now 2 days
NWOBHM ARMALITE Living On The Edge 7" VINYL UK Sonar 1984 B/W Breakaway (Son3) USD $14.05 Buy It Now 2 days
Miss Kittin-Live At Sonar (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $13.79 Buy It Now 2 days
SONAR NATION Thoughts On Anyone EP 12" VINYL UK Tmsy 1994 3 Track Featuring USD $4.01 Buy It Now 2 days
20 DAYS Freefall 12" VINYL UK Sonar 1985 4 Track B/w Night Time,heaven's High USD $10.02 Buy It Now 2 days
SONAR NATION Sleepthick Voices 7" VINYL UK Abstract 1994 3 Track B/W 2300 USD $6.38 Buy It Now 2 days
SONAR NATION Cylinders In Blue CD UK Abstract 10 Track (Abt100Cd) USD $6.38 Buy It Now 2 days
SONAR NATION Thoughts On Anyone PHOTOGRAPH UK Promo Only Photo With Info Sheets USD $4.01 Buy It Now 2 days
12" Morenas Hazme Sonar/Somnambulism DFC020 DANCE FLOOR CORPORATION Italy Vinyl USD $34.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Various : Sonar 99 (4CDs) (1999) USD $3.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Una Guitarra Para Sonar Bobby Johns BRAND NEW SEALED CD USD $9.89 Buy It Now 2 days
Techno DJ Set Collection 2017 on 8 x DVDs in MP3 Format Awakenings Mayday Sonar USD $12.76 Buy It Now 2 days
1 CENT CD Sonar Del Laberinto - Tish Hinojosa USD $0.01 [0 bids]
3 days
Los Rehenes (Dejame Sonar Contigo Fonovisa-5045520) USD $29.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Daniela Romo CD NEW Para Sonar ALBUM Version Especial DELUXE Con 2 CD + 1 DVD USD $15.25 Buy It Now 3 days
Santabarbara - No Dejes De Sonar ESP LP 1974 /3* USD $11.44 Buy It Now 3 days
SONAR - Brazilia 12" Vinyl 2002 EXC USD $2.49 Buy It Now 3 days
Various Secret Love 4 (One Is Not Like The Other) CD Sonar Kollektiv 2007 NEW USD $12.76 Buy It Now 4 days
Morenas - Hazme Sonar. 12" Vinyl single (12s905) USD $5.75 Buy It Now 4 days
Sonar Nation-Surge-UK Vinyl 12"+Inner-DIY SRT Alt Grunge Indie Rock-1992 USD $12.76 Buy It Now 4 days
Sonar Yen-Slow Picture CD Very Good USD $14.39 Buy It Now 4 days
CHEO FELICIANO - Sonar - CD - **BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED** - RARE USD $51.49 Buy It Now 4 days
USD $59.99 Buy It Now
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Space In Between #11 German 12trk promo CD Sonar Kollektiv Black Seeds Trickski USD $5.10 Buy It Now 4 days
Space In Between #6 German 11trk promo CD Sonar Kollektiv Frost USD $5.10 Buy It Now 4 days
Sonar - Static Motion (CD Used Like New) USD $14.51 Buy It Now 4 days
Roman Rofalski Trio - Sonar [CD] USD $17.18 Buy It Now 4 days
Miss Kittin-Live At Sonar (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $12.82 Buy It Now 4 days
Capricci da sonar Op. IV, New Music USD $13.03 Buy It Now 4 days
African Tribal Music And Dances - By Sonar Senghor Ak Sicco Yi LP USD $19.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Sonar 1000 (Radio 1)-V/A -3Cd- (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $6.50 Buy It Now 4 days
Sonar by Cheo Feliciano (CD, May-1996, Mercury) USD $6.30 Buy It Now 4 days
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The Raphael Trio - Dvorak Trio In F LP Mint- SD 180 Sonar 1979 1st Audiophile USD $150.00 Buy It Now 4 days
Volvi A Sonar By Tormenta (CD-1995 EMI Latin) Tejano USD $16.99 Buy It Now 4 days
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SONAR discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

SONAR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.97 | 12 ratings
A Flaw Of Nature
3.99 | 22 ratings
Static Motion
4.26 | 15 ratings
Black Light
4.13 | 47 ratings
Sonar & David Torn: Vortex

SONAR Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Live At Bazillus

SONAR Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SONAR Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SONAR Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Skeleton Groove

SONAR Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sonar & David Torn: Vortex by SONAR album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.13 | 47 ratings

Sonar & David Torn: Vortex
Sonar RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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.

 Sonar & David Torn: Vortex by SONAR album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.13 | 47 ratings

Sonar & David Torn: Vortex
Sonar RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by mitarai_panda

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 guitars to do this. It is similar to KC, and often plays highly repeated multi-level music, reminiscent of a tape delay recording system like Robert Fripp. This year's Vortex (with David Torn) is their fourth album. Please come to a jazz expert David Torn to help them. David Torn was selected as the best experimental guitarist, but he is good at electronic music and similar. The electronic programming of the device, which helped the band achieve many sound effects and level changes. In terms of new specialization, this kind of minimalism similar to the late KC brought an embarrassing psychedelic state, but because it is not too heavy, I think it can be called a psychedelic and jazz KC, full of mysteries and Hypnosis. It's like a musical sculpture, full of compact composition and addictive. Of course this can also be called Math Rock. All songs are full of rhythm, but using wacky rhythms, based on repetition and dynamic variables, the time accuracy is accurate, so it can be called mathematical rock as if it were constructed. A seemingly irregular but full of regular blockhouses, a seemingly asymmetrical and actually exact copy of the piece, a visual aesthetic works with a simple but deep complex and complex structure, 3/4, 4/4, and 5/4 shots Build and parallel in turn. In order to create such an ultra-rational effect, David Torn's assistance is crucial. An electronic crimson king hides madness and irrationality in strict discipline. The first half of the album still maintains a brighter hue. It is not enough to get dark and mad at the back. The bass rhythm in the tail song Lookface! is crazy, but it has to be admired. A surprising rock math masterpiece , a model of music architecture. Conservative to a four-star, but may be able to reach four and a half stars! Strongly recommended.
 Skeleton Groove by SONAR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
4.00 | 1 ratings

Skeleton Groove
Sonar RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by wiz_d_kidd

— First review of this album —
4 stars At 23-1/2 minutes, this EP contains four pieces that were the first to emerge after recording their first album, "A Flaw Of Nature". It was recorded in June 2012 at the Swiss Jazz School in Berne. The composition of all tracks are credited to Stephen Thelen, except "Gordian Knot" which is credited to Bernhard Wagner and Stephen Thelen. Special thanks were sent out to Nik Bartsch, Mike Chadwick, John Schaefer, and Sid Smith.

This album features their classic tri-tone tuned guitars, but with faster overall tempo. The poly-rhythmic structure of their songs is depicted on the back cover which shows a matrix of 3/4, 4/4, and 5/4 time all running simultaneously -- a style which was used on the first two tracks.

Occasional keyboard/synth effects in the background of track 1, "Skeleton Groove (ecoplex remix)", provides a hint of the sounds on the album "Vortex" with David Torn playing eerily soothing, long-sustained guitar notes in the background.

The song "Black Light" makes its first appearance here before being an integral part of the eponymous album released in 2015. The recording here, though, is at a slightly faster tempo, and arranged to be a little more accessible to those who don't get the whole poly-rhythmic thing. In many ways, I like this arrangement better than the one on their later album.

The last two tracks are more in line with the style prevalent on their more recent albums, but they contain some uncharacteristic dramatic flourishes which makes them quite interesting.

This is a wonderful album that offers features not often heard (before) on their other works: faster tempo, background harmonies, and melodic surprises. An easy 4 stars.

 Black Light by SONAR album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.26 | 15 ratings

Black Light
Sonar RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by dion

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 embraces you and set you over with it on visual dreaming phantasms. The sound rhythmical substance, working precisely like a Swiss watch, become reductive to an essence minimalism molded with fine refinement. The two guitar players in the group formula (Stephan Thelen and Bernhard Wagner), we could expect at a demonstration of virtuosity, at passionate fast speed dialogues with notes tighten tumultuous together as in the ubiquitous rock tradition. Backed up by Christian Kuntner (bass) and Manuel Pasquinelli (drums), the two guitar players builds up the dialogue in complementary in which each resonates together in unwonted and fascinating sound landscapes. The result is a rigorous build up symbiosis which thought to essence in complex polyphonies. The music of SONAR is a retrospection in the intuitive expressionism of Stockhausen, with stylistic nuances which can be associated with the music of Robert Fripp, Nik Bärtsch Ronin or Steve Reich. Founded in 2010 in the underground clubs of Zürich, the group SONAR shapes itself an unique place in the contemporary progressive music, all their albums being downright perfect. The uncanny atmosphere streaming out of the sound, so unique but so recognizable, is maybe due as well to the way as the members of the group tune up their instruments in the three-tonic module (C / F# / C / F# / C / F#), a specific feature to be found in the primitive ? tribal or ritualistic of "Maori", "Vedic" or "Herranza" music. Simple by appearance, complex by the structure of the polyphonic layer lines which overlaps in rhythmical asymmetries, the sound product is eluding the easy ways and stereotypes of the conventional compositions. The eccentricity of the SONAR sound it's not a researched one, but an undisguised vision of the idiosyncratic sound aesthetics the members of the group share together. The last SONIC album, "Black Light" from 2015, chronological their fourth, was recorded live in the studio, without any additions at editing. This technical element of recording creates in whole an organized (oxymoronic) spontaneous state of mind, as well as an emotion of a genuine kind. "Ennergram", the tune that opens the album, lines up the generic approach of the mathematical sound of the entire album. From the very first accords touches of the "Black Light" tune, we can recognize the atmospheric influence of the "Lark's Tongues In Aspic" (King Crimson) tune, theme which SONAR group is dressing it up and takes it over to a novel sonic spatiality. Already being placed on this orbit of travelling space landscapes, the follow up "Orbit 5.7" is a melodic geometry delineating even more the rhythmic mathematics in "Enneagram". The repetitive rhythmic sequence of "Angular Momentum" is inducing a psychedelic trance. "Stri Geometry" is a melodic geometry build up on contretemps measures. The last recorded tune in the studio, "Critical Mass" is the most intricate and "nervous" tune on the album. The album wraps up with two live bonus tracks: "Twofold Covering" and "Tromsö" which rounds out and emphasize this exceptional production. Listening to the album "Black Light" is a real and surprisingly pleasant experience for which I give 5 stars without hesitation ! Daniel Ionescu
 Live At Bazillus by SONAR album cover Live, 2012
4.00 | 2 ratings

Live At Bazillus
Sonar RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewian

4 stars "Live at Bazillus" is my first encounter with Sonar, or let's say my first encounter after quickly sampling some of their material in order to decide what to buy first. This live record has three tracks from their debut "A Flaw of Nature" (note that the opener here is "Tromso" although this is erroneously omitted from the progarchives track list). This was the only album that appeared before this live release, but still some material that would appear only on later studio albums still existed at the time and is performed here. There are two tracks from their second album ("Static Motion" and "Tranceportantion") and one ("String Geometry") from the third one "Black Light". "Gordian Knot" is apparently exclusively here.

The music of Sonar is in my opinion better classified as "Post Rock/Math Rock" than as RIO/Avant. All is instrumental, and all songs are very rhythm oriented, slow to mid tempo, make ample use of odd time signatures, and build up mostly smoothly and slowly. The listener is fairly safe from sudden shocks and contrasts and also from sound experiments; we're up for a pretty plain and solid drums/bass/guitar/guitar landscape. For the right type of person this will be a quite comfortable experience; there is no reason to call this "avantgarde" at all.

I went for the live album because the rendering of the music is quite dynamic and lively here, but still the sound is almost impeccable. It deviates only in ways from the studio sound that I like, it's somewhat more rough, pure and earthly, which serves their music well. Venue and audience seem quite small and in this respect we are only very shyly reminded at times that this is a live recording.

The music is somewhat repetitive and based mainly on rhythmic patterns with variable dynamic, although these change occasionally. All is teamwork, there are hardly any solos; one could even deny the existence of composed melodies. It mixes the appeal of minimal music with a rock approach to the instruments and could as such be seen as archetypical post rock; the time signatures and the obvious attention to precision make it more math rock.

Overall this is very elegant, atmospheric and convincing and I like it a lot. I don't give it 5 stars because one can criticise this as a bit too uniform; of course if you're in the mood for this kind of thing, you may be quite happy about the fact that they go for it from beginning to end without flinching.

 Black Light by SONAR album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.26 | 15 ratings

Black Light
Sonar RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Static Motion by SONAR album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.99 | 22 ratings

Static Motion
Sonar RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Swiss band SONAR got their name from the SONic ARchitecture they create which is polymetric and highly structured. The two guitars and bass are tuned to the tritones which gives this album a dark mood throughout. We get two guitarists a bass player and drummer. This is Math Rock for sure yet with a twist I guess you could say. KING CRIMSON certainly came to mind with how precise and complex this is. It was recorded live in studio at Ocean Sound Recordings in Norway with very little done to it afterwards except some reverb. Someone stated that the music gives the impression of moving yet it makes no progress. Nik Bartsch said "Once you are in SONAR's sound world you won't want to leave" and for me this was very true. I usually complain about 70 minute albums but for a minimalistic recording at that length the time always flies by, very strange other than I love this style of instrumental music.

I won't say much on each track but first up is "Static Motion" the title track that some compare to being a cross between "Fracture" and "Meeting Of The Spirits". Atmosphere to start as the drums rumble in and out. Picked guitar after a minute and a second one joins in. It settles in around 2 minutes with drums and bass. This is so good! A calm 3 1/2 minutes in. "Twofold Covering" is one of my favourites. I just adore this minimalistic stuff that is so dark and precise. "Landslide" is another track that is dark with intricate sounds throughout.

"Shadow Play" is another highlight for me. It has this "Lost In Space" vibe to it. "Triptych" has one of the few breakout moments after 5 minutes when things pickup and turn fuller. "Continuum" continues with the same style although the guitars are almost playful 4 minutes in. "Tranceportation" is such a great title and yes it sounds like we are moving forwrd in a trance-like state. Nice bass after 3 minutes as well. "Zero Tolerance" is a little more intense than the other songs and I like each time the tension breaks. "Verticle Time" is spacey and is possibly the most minimalistic tune on here.

Man I dig this album yet I get the reasons some are less than thrilled with it. A solid 4 stars.

 A Flaw Of Nature by SONAR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.97 | 12 ratings

A Flaw Of Nature
Sonar RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Nightmarish and lurid, clockwork post-minimal Rock/Jazz (in opposition?).

"A Flaw Of Nature", 2012, Swiss band Sonar's first release, is both charged with minimal intensity as the magnified one. In a context of perfectly threaded songs that revolve between mere "full-sound" minimalistic musical abstractions and what we all call "constructed" songs.

Their "dark" nature, probably sets them closer to let's say Universe Zero than the Cardiacs. Their musical proposal is by far more difficult to explain. So maybe the Jazz references could come in quiet handy. Modern Jazz disarticulated the structures of their predecessors by means of incorporating spontaneous improvisation to already fixed "parameters".

This styling could hardly had been passed by unnoticed, by close to RiO/AV founders and courts. So modern Jazz has a clear and intimate closeness to this sub-genre, I mean John Coltrane's later works could be included as if today!

SONAR's first release does exactly that! It disarticulates the complexities, so dear to the RiO/AV crowd, and undresses them to full light. Like a symbol not an alphabet!

It is clean, obscure, straight forward, daring, minimal, hypnotic, attractive and unpretentious. Yet worked out close to clockwork-like perfection!

Therefore again, I address the Post/Math rock or modern Jazz audiophiles, more than the RiO/AV's average crowd.

****4 "not only a promise but a whole new proposal" PA stars!

 Static Motion by SONAR album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.99 | 22 ratings

Static Motion
Sonar RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If there is Post Rock/Math Rock, this should be Post Rock in Opposition/Math Jazz??

Clearly untaggable to none, but this Sonar (there is another band same name here in PA), which is found in the RiO/AV sub-genre, 2014 second album, "Static Motion", works like a swiss- clock when it comes to performance. And even better than that, they are full of musical-creativity, which moves their music towards unexpected territories.

These new "landscapes" are very far fom being the usual "freak-Jazz" / off-beat music, this category is usually flooded with. Opposite to that, these explorations find shelter in quiet hospitable environments, which not because of the same, lose their mysterious and hypnotic instrumental trance or value.

So, no screams, or untuned endless sax "thrills", or far-fetched pretentions. (These guys will wither in this category as such!). They are avant-garde because they have no fear of not being that!

Creative, tight musical sculptures, without any kind of paraphernalia or "novel" idiosincracies, set to slow-tempo intricate passages, which are threaded perfectly, by the sheer genius of its compositions, which by themselves have no need for artificial decorations. Performed with a basic 4 tight-piece unit, which has a very clear notion to where they are heading (or not) always.

Post/Rock/ Mathers, Electronics, Avant Gardes, Modern Jazz and maybe some RiO followers will have a bash with this one.

As for me, truly perfect, no single complaint! (in fact I am going to buy also their first album!)

****4 shimmering PA stars.

 Static Motion by SONAR album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.99 | 22 ratings

Static Motion
Sonar RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Nogbad_The_Bad
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars Great new album from the Swiss minimalist rock band Sonar & their first on Cuneiform. Hopefully this will give them a broader audience particularly in North America. I struggle to fit them into a genre, which is often a good thing, as they have a pretty unique sound.

Their most obvious influences are probably Nik Bartsch's Ronin, Dawn Of Midi and Brandt Brauer Frick, all of whom show influences from Steve Reich and Phillip Glass' 20th century minimalism. Where they differ from these bands is with their rock edge. They are a two guitar, bass & drums straight setup which gives them a basic heavy edge.

All the tracks feature the locked in groove with overlapping patterns of tri-tone C & F# piling layer upon layer. This is music to disappear in as it takes you to a trance like space. Highly recommended for fans of minimalism & rock.

"...Sonar's idiosyncratic sound world...once you are in, you don't want to leave..." ? Nik Bärtsch (pianist, composer and ECM recording artist)

"Had MC Escher made music instead of drawing his famously impossible and perplexing perspectives, it would sound like Sonar." ? Sid Smith, Prog Magazine

Thanks to holymoly for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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