Cerebral attitudes are everything in this business, and if you learn how to bring it into the studio with you, you’re already a mile ahead of well over half the recording population in 2023. It takes a lot to stay strong and even more to break out some experimentation when we need it the most, and in his boldly evocative new single “Strange Flowers,” Sonarpilot chooses the latter and comes out sounding like a genuine hero. There are a lot of different ways to show solidarity with the underground in controversial times like these, from collaborating with other heavyweights to going back to the basics of your sound, and Sonarpilot shows us here that extending musical kindness is among the best gestures we’ve still got in this world.
You don’t have to be super familiar with the sibling works of “Strange Flowers” to appreciate the bones of the composition as they’ve been stylized in this single, but for those who are, it’s a respectful work I think you’re going to approve of. This is a project that set a standard few have been able to live up to in or outside of the immediate underground, but rather than trying to do the impossible with the conceptualism behind this new piece, Sonarpilot experiments and makes it feel and sounds like something born of his ambitiousness as opposed to a predetermined take on postmodernity.
Sonarpilot preserves the melodicism of “Strange Flowers” diligently, but he also leaves everything else on the table essentially wide open to a versatile, improvisational wit that becomes the guiding hand behind his tonal eruptions here later on. A lot of artists can throw together a droning piece when they’re playing a show and looking to transition into the next part of their setlist, but this has a life of its own that doesn’t feel so amateurish. It’s unspoken sonic poetry in motion, and better yet, it’s pumped up by unvarnished texture.
The artistic charisma here bleeds into the music and spreads warmth to the audience in a fashion that just wouldn’t have been possible were someone else holding the wheel other than Sonarpilot, and I think this is indicative of a man who has found his signature sound. He’s making an avant-garde song feel like a piece of material that he conjured up with an ear for the simplicity influencing almost every move he would make, and if this isn’t something to celebrate professionally, I do not know what else would qualify.
A charming piece of rare value to both the indie audiophile and those who only casually demand quality music in their lives, Sonarpilot nails it with “Strange Flowers” while making it clear to us that he has not yet reached his artistic peak. There’s still a lot of ground for this guy to cover that he’s barely scratched the surface of in singles like this one, and despite facing a lot of competition from around the underground, his moxie is pushing him into the spotlight once again in this performance and likely those that will come on its heels.