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«Dope Regards»

The Swedish quartet The Sonic E is actually a collaboration of the versatile trio Thymeshift – guitarist Thomas Gunillasson, sax player Thomas Backman and drummer Johan Björklund – with DJ-vocalist-bass player Jonas Färnlöf. Thymeshift was always a collaborative unit and has worked before with Danish keyboards-electronics player Katrine Amsler and Icelandic guitarist Hilmar Jensson («Beyond Horizons», BoogiePost Recordings, 2015) and even incarnated itself as Thymeshift Electronix.

«Dope Regards» takes Thymeshift electronic phase a big step further. The Sonic E blends now its electronics side – the laptops that all four musicians are playing – with the human touch of more conventional instruments, taking both sides as equal parts in the creative process. Or as Gunillasson calls it: «one foot in the jazz soil and other techno cloud». You can also add many fingers dipped in metal, acrobatic fusion and hip-hop and you begin to to understand the sonic vision of The Sonic E.

The Sonic E began to shape in the fall of 2014. The quartet worked intensively for a year and tested new ideas and dynamics at Färnlöf ‘s cabin-studio in Västerås. The laptops were synchronized, fat beats were found and a fine, elusive line between the acoustic, electric and electronics was shaped. The Sonic E played half a dozen concerts in 2015 before it returned to Färnlöf ‘s studio to immortalize it all.

«Dope Regards» sound as a highbrow version of jazz fusion unit energized with a healthy steroids of dance beats. Surprisingly this recipe works better when the pendulum moves towards the hyperactive, fat beats as on pieces like «People in Power», «Grabbed from Beyond», «Knubbsteph» and «Stabbed from Behind». Then Thymeshift’s technical wizardry, Färnlöf’s clever techno beats and evocative lyrics and the overall dense sonic envelope melt organically, and may even serve some forward-thinking clubs with the right remixes. But when The Sonic E leans towards Thymeshift complex fusion Färnlöf sound as losing his mischievous edge in the acrobatic interplay.

Eyal Hareuveni

Thomas Gunillasson (g, laptop), Jonas Färnlöf (v, b, perc, laptop), Johan Björklund (dr, perc, laptop); Thomas Backman (as, cl, fl, v, laptop)