“Sonar” is Craig Padilla’s the second album for the Fruit de Mer label, released as limited edition double LP colored vinyl. It’s a compilation of recordings by Craig from 1996 onwards, none of which have appeared on cd or vinyl before. Sonically, the outcome is a real heads-up for the aficionados who have a knack for so-called German Kosmische Musik with a dash of Krautrock of the ‘70’s, for which lots of analogue gear-only was applied.
Although the entrance features two nice but a bit too short pieces, the rest of the release contains longer pieces tracks between 13 and 23 minutes offering the appropriate space for these sonic excursions. On “Cosmic Dawn”, this turns about rather inconsistent as this take includes contributions done by Craig’s two young daughters. Fortunately, the morphing “Challenger Deep” (recorded entirely on a Mattson mini modular synthesizer and sequencer in more recent times) shows a much stronger and cohesive work of cosmic analogue electronics, curling and shape shifting nicely in a minimal framework.
The gently radiating “Behind the Lightning”, which originally appeared as an untitled track on Padilla’s dvd-release “Ibiida Lahaa” creates a lush, elevating sonic cocoon, despite its thick underlying sequencer pattern. I especially like minutes-long morphing intro and outro. Craig’s best friend and longtime musical companion Skip Murphy joins on the solid 23-minute title track. Halfway this minimalist cosmic ride, a main (occasionally quite hefty tweaked) sequence kicks in, composed on the classic ARP 2600 synth and sequencer.
The cinematic, celestial and quieting “Awaken to a Dream” puts an end to the album, taking the listener on a free from, lush 23-minute cosmic float through soft shimmering galactic environs. An excellent, highly atmospheric piece I consider another highlight here.
With “Sonar”, Mr Padilla puts an edge, another dimension and sense of adventure to cosmic electronic music while leaving his experienced sonic signature.
You can see what reviews I have done of this artist on the Craig Padilla artist page