Sonna: Travels In Constants
Recorded and released in 1999, this EP is what catapulted Sonna's popularity with obsessive post-rock fans. A trilogy called "The Eventual Bow," the track was the band's first musical statement in what would become their trademark sound. Often still hailed by fans as their finest release.
Sonna: Smile and The World Smiles With You
Following up the near-unanimous critical acclaim of their debut album, We Sing Loud Sing Soft Tonight, Baltimore's Sonna delivers slow-motion acrobatics with a beat you can dance to. With tempos ranging from head-bobbing to head-nodding, their blend of shimmering counterpoint guitars, buttery bass and shifting rhythms has become somewhat of a trademark that discerns them from similar bands of the ilk. Taking cues from Television, Brian Eno, Bedhead, Yo La Tengo and maybe a little bit of The Beach Boys, their songs are simultaneously more complex, more subdued and more catchy than ever before. Once again recorded by Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio studio, the captivating energy of Sonna's live show is captured in brilliant detail, with every subtle nuance left intact. The songs were recorded live with barely an overdub in sight. At its most dense, you feel as if the band is playing right in front of you; at its most stark, you're convinced you could walk for miles and never get any closer. This mix of intimate and intimidating is what makes it such a fascinating listen.
Sonna / Sybarite / Lilienthal: Make Shift Carousel
Sonna recorded some bare tracks of acoustic guitar, samples and drones and sent the unfinished pieces to Sybarite and Lilienthal to complete. Flaunting just about every facet of Sonna's dynamic range, these four tracks glide from punchy, guitar-driven electronic pop to dark, glitchy soundscapes. Acoustic guitars mingle with thumping drum programs and every sound is twisted into a gorgeous new groove. This brilliant collaboration has churned out some of the sweetest, most heartfelt tunes, in grand Sonna tradition.
Sonna: Kept Luminesce
Highlighting the more uplifting side of Sonna, "Kept Luminesce" and "Mirameko" are packed with gorgeous guitar hooks, intricate polyrhythms and charming vocals. The production is crisp and rich with buttery bass grooves grounding the whole mix of mellow pop perfection. Fusing moody textures and subtle melodic interplay, the songs drift and drive like Bedhead or Yo La Tengo with a quicker pulse. As brief as it may be, this single serves as an excellent teaser for the upcoming album. Typically known for being masters of lengthy sentimental soundscapes, this further proves that Sonna not only makes great sounds, they make great songs.
Sonna: We Sing Loud, Sing Soft Tonight
Recorded last summer with Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio Studios, Sonna picks up where their critically adored but all-too-rare The Eventual Bow EP left off. Pretty songs come a dime a dozen, and simple beauty is not what makes Sonna so special. There is a complexity to their music, executed so seamlessly that it often goes unnoticed. It's that complexity that makes every song so memorable. Subtle changes in time signature and tempo creep in without jarring the listener. More often than not the guitars are playing in different time signatures simultaneously, yet never become the tangled mess one would expect. With the occasional hushed verse of vocals poking through in spots, the pieces are elevated to near pop song status, breathing angelic life into fragile, somnambulant compositions.
Sonna: These Windows are Pistons
Sonna are master artists of mood enhancing artwork. Their songs swim graciously and elegantly through your ears and your surroundings and melt into your subconscious. The three songs that make up this EP lock into a groove and work it until all the energies and feelings are extracted. The music moves and breathes on its own. Time is well-paced and maximized to pull every ounce of pleasure from the notes. Drums skip like stones across a pond, guitars chime like bells of a cathedral, and the bass pulses like the rumblings of an impending storm. Close your eyes and relax and you'll swear the colors you see cannot be duplicated with red, yellow and blue.-pillowfight.com
Sonna / Paul Newman: Way to Breathe, No Breath
Two different bands interpret the same instrumental song on this single. The vibrant Paul Newman version sets the click and hiss of programmed percussion against a confidently strummed guitar that sounds pretty fierce by the song's end. Alternately, Sonna plays up the track's lush, ambient elements, turning the track into a dreamier, more repetitive soundscape.-CMJ