The steady unfurling of an almost industrial harmony is likely to hypnotize just about anyone who loves music, but for those of us with an especially deep appreciation for the medium, something like the new single “Strange Flowers” by Sonarpilot is a particularly stellar find.
Though created with a bit of surrealism with consideration to the way he arranged the song as a whole, Sonarpilot creates a rather fragile, albeit mightily revealing and vulnerable piece of music in the soundscape titled “Strange Flowers” that rarely, if ever at all, feels like a traditional work in the ambient genre, whatever that means. There aren’t any big poses alluding to the structure of similar works already recorded by this artist, nor is there an excess of bombast or theatrics in the style of his influences, as so many other performers might have incorporated into such a recording as this one. Sonarpilot is keeping the spirit of experimentation alive through a new form of connectivity with the audience, and it starts first and foremost with ambition (which is admittedly something that a lot of other artists in his position tend to struggle with).
There was likely an easier route to take to the cathartic center in this performance, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that the integrities of the larger concept Sonarpilot was going for aren’t left somewhat intact here. There’s still a poetic value to both the framing and the actual substance of what’s being instrumentally communicated in this single, and if you think about just how hard a year the underground ambient scene has been through collectively, the simplistic appeal of the slow tempo is a bit more stunning a document than much of the gloom and doom you’ll find in something with just a little more urgency than what we’re listening to in this piece.
You can tell that Sonarpilot is invested in this material from beginning to end, mostly by how he puts these elements together without any reticence or second-guessing himself. The confidence alone is something I think a lot of his closest rivals wish they had on their side, but along with the song’s arrangement, which was accomplished without overthinking any of the subtle detail, there’s no getting around the fact that this musician and his collaborators have a lot going for them right now.
Sonarpilot has been on my radar for a long while now throughout the release of his multipart Mirage series, and I think he’s going to see his following grow a lot with the release of this new track. “Strange Flowers” continues forth with the same set of artistic ethics and standards we first got a better look at in previous headline-making works to sport his name in the byline, and it further shows us just how little fear he has of being himself and having some fun in the studio. His is a focused approach I’d like to see spread like wildfire throughout all of music, and with the right exposure this year, I believe it could.