The lauded Sonarpilot has been making some big waves with word of his work in the studio once again, and in “Citadel,” he invites another layer of cerebral craftsmanship into the mix to make some truly mystical music for the ages. “Citadel” plods along to a staggering beat, but its melodies are anything but a metallic show of strength. There are a lot of dimensions to the harmonies that adorn every groove in the rhythm, and if you thought that you had heard the best of eclectic and alternative instrumental music in 2023 before hearing this single, my gut tells me that you’re going to change your tune after giving it a spin.
The compositional content in “Citadel” is executed with a sensuously soft airiness that stands in strong contrast to the physical design of the music, but this doesn’t yield a sonic disparity in the flow of the track at all. You could attribute this song’s agile sway to its stylistic contradictions which, on paper, would appear to be too lofty for even the most dexterous of artists to meld properly in a single track. Sonarpilot proves himself exceptionally skilled behind the soundboard here, to put it very mildly.
“Citadel” sports a boisterous bassline, but even at its most assaultive, it never interrupts the even-keeled delivery of the tempo. Sonarpilot’s contribution to this track is felt on multiple levels that go beyond his intriguing arrangement skills; he’s giving context to the beat, producing the larger mood in the music, and quite frankly, giving the sound a definition that simply wouldn’t be there otherwise. This artist was destined to make the recording studio his home at some point in his life, and I feel quite fortunate to be able to witness his talents coming together in such an addictive single as this one.
There’s no getting around the drum track in this song during the meatier parts of the track, as every beat that it vaults in our direction is as big as a skyscraper. The percussion is skewed with a chilling reverberation that ensures every groove’s impact on the texture of the music, and in the bigger picture, the drums are as loud in the master mix as anything else is here. “Citadel” has a lot of different angles in its structural makeup, but despite its calculated composition, I wouldn’t call it an exercise in needless indulgence at all.
Pop aficionados aren’t likely to beat what this stylish single offers in each one of its twisting grooves this year, and if some had their doubts about a Sonarpilot track of a more efficiently designed framework, they’ll be effectively shut down once this song hits international airwaves this February. The alternative underground has been shelling out one hitmaker after another in recent years, but few artists have left the sizzling impression on me that this guy has with “Citadel.” It’s on par with his best, but not quite a complete peak in terms of what he can still bring to the table.