ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


Soniq Theater - 2018 - "Squaring the Circle"

(51:29; Soniq Theater)


TRACK LIST: 1. Squaring the Circle 6:20 2. Circus Ponies on the Run 5:00 3. The Unbearable Lightness of Being 5:49 4. Strange Times and Odd Days 5:41 5. Kissing the Sun 2:27 6. Pink Panda 5:45 7. Flying Dolphins 4:40 8. Spirallels 4:16 9. Welcome to Absurdistan 2:24 10. Paradox 6:00 11. April Snow 3:07 LINE UP : Alfred Mueller - all instruments

Prolusion. German project Soniq Theater is a long ongoing presence in the German progressive rock scene, where main man Alfred Mueller is releasing one new every year, with January most commonly being the month of it's release. At the time of writing we are closing in on two dozen albums released under the Soniq Theater moniker. The album "Squaring the Circle" dates back to 2018, and was self released.

Analysis. At this stage in the annals of Soniq Theater this project has established itself as unit creating material that draw upon impulses from progressive electronic music and ambient music, with occasional use of effects and details pulled in from the symphonic progressive rock universe. Everything is created by way of keyboards and synthesizers, and Mueller has developed a sound and a style that is very much his own. Music that is easy to listen to, but much more difficult to describe in a proper manner. A running feature is that the compositions will feature layers of sounds that have different roles and purposes, with one or more floating or flowing textures that is a constant, rhythms and often a synth bass to cater for momentum, and with various kinds of effects, swirling overlays and surging textures catering for variation and tension. The strong points here are appealing melody lines and arrangements with a compelling and likeable nature, where the compositions often have a cinematic touch to them that makes them easy to engage in. The kind of landscapes where you can close your eyes and just exist in them while they play. The weak point will always be the sounds and effects used, where the more artificial ones will have a tendency to break that spell due to the effects having a disruptive effect. As usual with many Soniq Theater albums we have examples of both here, and also a couple of rare instances where the composition in itself isn't quite on the level of Mueller's usual quality as a composer. The highlights on this occasion being the more exotic sounding landscapes of 'Strange Times and Odd Days' and the more gentle, dark toned and softly cosmic soundscapes explored on 'Spirallels'. In addition the more minimalist and experimental sounds of 'Welcome to Absurdistan' are ones I find appealing too, with this specific creation giving me distinct associations to electronic music pioneer Isao Tomita.

Conclusion. Soniq Theater is a project that for the most part comes with some requirements for the listener, and the ability to tolerate encountering sounds with a more artificial sounding nature is the most important of those. As always Mueller's music comes with appealing and likeable moods, atmospheres and melodies, and as usual with some compositions that are generally appealing and a cut above the rest too. The style explored is a cinematic oriented blend of elements from progressive electronic music and ambient music, and for those who find music of this type generally fascinating there will always be gems to uncover from a Soniq Theater album.

Progmessor: February 2023
The Rating Room

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