...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
"A really fascinating blend of art-rock, groove-based minimalism and abstract mathematical theory, all woven together to great effect" – John Schaefer, host of New Sounds
"Stephan Thelen and Bernhard Wagner are guitar heroes. Or rather, the two, members of Swiss progressive/new music group Sonar, are guitar anti-heroes, and the band’s new effort, “Static Motion,” is a revolutionary shot across the bow for what we might consider to be the possibilities of modern day guitar music. Thelen, Wagner, drummer Manuel Pasquinelli, and bassist Christian Kuntner have crafted an anti-hero’s masterpiece here, an album that radically reinvents instrumental interplay in the (vaguely, at least) rock setting....With so many forms of contemporary music seemingly satisfied to simply regurgitate weary and weathered tropes, Sonar has defied the norm by crafting something singular and magical." Jeff Miers, The Buffalo News
"This quartet is unlike anything you've heard before. How often can you say you've encountered a truly unique act? Rarely. Here's one that qualifies." – Anil Prasad
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. Static Motion is their second full-length release, and their first release outside of Switzerland.
Fusing a rigorous minimal esthetic with the power of a rock band, every note and rhythm is precisely composed and performed, all of which are designed to move you from one rhythmic and / or harmonic tension to the next. Sonar is the last word in a rock band that works by building their music out of blocks consisting of slowly rising and unfolding musical tension and relief. While you can hear elements of Sonar's sound in ensembles such as Glenn Branca, King Crimson, Pharaoh Overlord, Present, etc, ultimately, no one else sounds like this and Static Motion is a powerful and extraordinary listen!
Just about everything is different with Sonar: the sound, the harmonies, the rhythms, the whole musical concept. Their instantly recognizable sound is partly due to the special tuning of the guitars and the bass guitar to tritones (C / F# / C / F# / C / F#), an interval sometimes called the "devil in music" ("diabolus in musica").
A large proportion of their music is played using only the natural harmonics of these two notes, thereby creating a harmonically ambiguous musical microcosmos that the group calls "tritone harmonics" and that avoids conventional musical cliches. The group's rhythms are also highly unconventional and usually consist of layered polyrhythms and isorhythms in odd metres.
Sonar's music is always played live without any sequencers, loops or computers, using a minimum amount of equipment: 2 guitars, a bass guitar, 3 small amplifiers und a basic drum kit. Nearly effect-free (with just a touch of reverb and tremolo allowed), the band does this to keep the music as clear, direct and immediate as possible. Sonar does not consider itself or operate as a collection of soloists; rather, their efforts are oriented towards collective efforts making the music more than the sum of the individual parts of the players.