Good reviews are hard to get these days. By a good review, we mean a review that is a proper review of the music, not just a rehash of the press release. Be it good or bad, as long as its constructive. A proper review is when someone really listens to the music and actually forms their own opinion, chooses their words well and paints a picture for you of the sonics they experience when they listen to the music. So here, we give a thankful nod to Andrew Wowk from Pulse Radio.net for his great (proper) review of Sonarpilot Remixes EP3. You can read it on their excellent website here and while you're there, check out how you could set up your own radio show with their online tools.
Review: Sonarpilot ‘Radar/Corrosion’ (Sonarpilot Audio)
Sonarpilot Audio has made quite the mark in 2011, and until now, it was only two EPs into its lifespan. The third release, featuring original material from label head Sonarpilot and remixes from Trevino and Viva Shade continues the label’s exploration of that exciting middle-ground where dubstep and garage sensibilities blend with the techno and house sound palettes.
The original of Radar is at its core a low-slung, slow-mo house ride, but it takes in elements of early 90s ambient, Detroit techno and garage along the way. It’s a lesson in how to put together supposedly contradictory elements into a coherent whole: the beats are tight and snappy, but surrounded by slightly loose organic percussion, the bassline is deep, dark and rumbly but offset by light, warm synth stabs, and choppy, mumbled vocals are occasionally swapped for Eastern chants.
Marcus Intalex turns in a remix of Radar under his new Trevino moniker, a pseudonym created so he can explore music outside the realm of drum & bass. His remix is lush, driving, melodic techno, but it’s easy to spot the d&b influence: the bass is deep, heavy and warm. The chords from the original are completely reworked, sounding much trancier and more epic, the beats are pacier, and a subtle acid line fills out the track perfectly. This is an excellent peak-time monster that shows that techno doesn’t always have to be dark and loopy.
Corrosion is all about the drums. Pounding kicks and rough snares propel the tune (but drop in and out of the mix at exactly the right moments), accompanied by congas and toms which gives the tune a really Middle Eastern feel. The distorted Arabic chants and stabby bassline add to the moody, slightly aggressive vibe created by the drums, but are balanced out by sparkly chimes and bells and uplifting synth pads.
Viva Shade’s remix uses most of the original elements (albeit in an altered state), but swaps the heavy drums for soft, round kicks and claps, and replaces the congas and toms with tablas and cowbells and adds some extra layers of shakers and hats. The bassline is sparser, the chants filtered down to sound more subtle and atmospheric, rather than be the focus on the tune, and the synths are chopped up and reverbed. Together, they all come together to produce a deep, chilled-out version of Corrosion, perfect as an intro track or even a last tune of the night.
Words: Andrew Wowk