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DJ Supply

Title - Fractal Guitar 2: Remixes
Artist - Stephan Thelen

For those unaware, Fractal Guitar 2 (2021) was an instrumental album that features the multi-layered, atmospherically dense and polyrhythmic tapestry for which Sonar (a Swiss progressive/new music group that features the duo of Thelen and Bernhard Wagner) is well known, but also focused much more on the sonic and ambient possibilities of the electric guitar.

And so, and as it was then, here on Fractal Guitar 2: Remixes, the minimal groove aspect of Sonar is still present, but in a much more progressive rock context.

1. Point of Inflection (Stephan Thelen Remix) [10:35]
2. Ladder to the Stars (Jah Wobble Remix) [14:46]
3. Celestial Navigation (Stephan Thelen Remix) [09:05]
4. Point of Inflection (David Torn Mix) [11:52]
5. Mercury Transit (Barry Cleveland Remix) [12:16]
6. Point of Inflection (Bill Laswell Mix Translation) [15:25]

Opening on the near 10 minute opus of the cinematically-charged, fervently ambitious, always cruising, always alive, always prowling guitar and percussional mastery of the score lines found within Point Of Inflection and then the 15 minute, mid-tempo, drum-led, hauntingly guitar-embedded gossamer of Ladder To The Stars, they are backed by the 10 minute, atmospherical, prog-direct guitar work of Celestial Navigation.

Next up is the 12 minute, stuttering guitar and drum juxtaposition found within another layered version of Point of Inflection (this time the David Torn Mix) which is in turn followed by the harmonious, and yet at times combative, always soaring guitar melodies of one of my own personal favorites, the 12 minute Mercury Transit (Barry Cleveland Remix), this engrossing new remix album coming to a close on yet another version of Point of Inflection (this time a 15 minute one entitled, Bill Laswell Mix Translation).

Stephan Thelen: Fractal Guitar 2 remains one of my own favorite albums, not just for musical reasons and because it is driven by such a huge life-affirming power, but also because it was such an enjoyable working experience in which many of my musician friends sent me file after file after file of amazing and spellbinding music.

In the end, there were so many tracks that ultimately did not make it to the album, but were simply too good to just let go of. A good example is Andi Pupato’s Middle Eastern percussion track for my remix of Point of Inflection which wasn’t quite right for the main album, but set the stage for the very different vibe of the remix.

Also, while preparing the mixes for Fractal Guitar 2, it became clear that the extensive material for this album had the potential to be remixed and remodeled in many different ways.

Knowing that some of my friends were excellent and creative remixers, I reached out to see who would be compelled to re-imagine the pieces. A big thank you to Bill Laswell, Jah Wobble, David Torn and Barry Cleveland for their incredible remix skills and musical imagination.

In an e-mail written after hearing Bill Laswell’s remix, Barry wrote to me: This is fascinating on multiple levels. A sort of master class, really …Even King Tubby would raise his eyebrows at that schnizzle.

Of course, he’s right!

Stephan Thelen is American born Swiss who composes, produces and performs music at the fringes of rock, jazz, experimental, progressive, ambient and minimal music.

His current main project as a leader, guitarist and composer is the minimal groove band SONAR, who have quickly gained international reputation for creating a unique blend of polyrhythmic music that fuses a rigorous minimal concept with the power of a rock band and the sensitivity of a jazz combo.

The celebrated KRONOS QUARTET recently recorded and frequently performed Stephans string quartet Circular Lines, a piece commissioned by the Kronos Arts Association and Carnegie Hall for a visionary project called Fifty for the Future.

Official Purchase Link