A Third Ear for “Tranceportation, Volume 2”

Sonar with David Torn: Tranceportation, Volume 2 (RareNoise Records, 2020)


  • David Torn, electric guitar and live looping
  • Stephan Thelen, tritone guitar
  • Bernhard Wagner, tritone guitar
  • Christian Kuntner, tritone bass
  • Manuel Pasquinelli, drums and percussion


  1. Triskadekaphilia
  2. Tranceportation
  3. Slowburn
  4. Cloud Chamber


Sequels can be tough. This is particularly true if the original work achieves “classic” status. Where does one go from there?

Some bands record an absolutely brilliant first album, only to see the follow-up viewed as a step back. Fortunately for us, Swiss math/art/prog-rockers Sonar and legendary experimental guitarist David Torn , this doesn’t appear to be a problem.

Tranceportation 2 doesn’t exceed its predecessor, but hangs with it stride for stride. Which makes sense, as this recording is a continuation from the same sessions. This is Torn’s fourth official release with the group, but only the second in which he shares compositional duties (the precious appearances were improvs). His screams, stabs, dives, and other elements of sonic chaos are precisely what Sonar’s highly disciplined and minimalist “tritone” style needs. Sonar provides shelter from the storm. Torn IS the storm.

Guitarists Stephan Thelen and Bernhard Wagner continue to work their interlocking tri-tone magic, while bassist Christian Kunter continues to find creative ways to establish his groove amongst the trippy notes. All while drummer Manuel Pasquinelli establishes his beats on top of and between the sonic maelstrom.

The five musicians play intricate, attention-worthy lines and phrases without tripping over or interfering with one another, a task not easily completed in a setting like this. One can visualize the band standing in a room, listening to and watching one another, nodding to each other as if to say, “your turn.” This is chemistry at it’s finest.

One might think there is a finite number of ways for Sonar to bring forth its sound. But that limit has yet to be achieved. One can only hope the Torn studio collaboration turns into a trilogy.


You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (cirdecsongs) My book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers.

Would you like to have your album reviewed? Contact me at cirdecsongs@gmail.com

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