Sonar with David Torn and J. Peter Schwalm – Three Movements (2023)

Sonar with David Torn and J. Peter Schwalm - Three Movements (2023)
Artist: Sonar with David Torn and J. Peter Schwalm
Album: Three Movements
Genre: Avant-Prog, Math Rock, Experimental
Label: 7d Media
Year Of Release: 2023
Quality: FLAC (tracks)

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


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

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 Mellotron Storm

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