SONAR – Live At Moods

7d Media 2018

SONAR - Live At Moods

SONAR –
Live At Moods

Tempestuous concert set from Switzerland’s finest post-prog explorers that capture a moment to let it go.

If there’s a line between immersion and unpredictability, it’s akin to a tightrope, yet these Swiss experimentalists walk the walk and rock the rock with arresting grace, challenging themselves not only in a studio but also on-stage. One of such challenges was to introduce a variable named David Torn to the quartet’s ever-volatile state on their latest album and retain his presence in Zürich’s “Moods Jazz Club” shortly after “Vortex” was released, and here’s an impressive report from that performance. If the guest isn’t mentioned on the record’s front cover, it’s because the players created a united aural front whose depth the ensemble measure over six sprawling sonic tapestries.

Or, rather, five, as “For Lost Sailors” sees Torn alone – isolated from the loose fiber of Stephan Thelen and Bernhard Wagner’s guitars and threading lament via relaxed loops and roaring riffs – although this piece creates contrast to the tender assault on the rest of the compositions, with “Twofold Covering” getting a new level of squealing menace when a third axe is thrown in to cut through the throb of Christian Kuntner’s bass. Once that tight-but-loose weave is untangled for “Waves And Particles” to drip with intense, if somewhat sinister, romanticism and also angular anticipation, “Red Shift” – another freshly minted epic – provides even more light and shade. Whereas Manuel Pasquinelli’s drums bust stereo panorama to shape a 3D image out of taut-yet-sparse strum, without straying too far from this track’s studio template, “Tromsø” – an integral part of the group’s repertoire since their debut – has acquired a few dynamic details which add to the number’s reserved rapture.

It’s there that the wild allure of “Lookface!” would land on, with cymbals blazing and strings tortured – laid on the line between immersion and unpredictability. The quintet phase is transient, of course, but it keeps this line vibrating with a tightrope-walk excitement, and a snapshot of such moments is priceless.

*****

February 5, 2019

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