The final instalment of the Retrospective series, looking back at the first ten years of Sonarpilot Audio. Touching all corners of the house spectrum and featuring once again Sonarpilot family from around the world. The album features London soulful house king, Danny J Lewis, Lay-Far, Kay Suzuki, South Africa's Rudo Deep, all alongside classic Sonarpilot originals locked into the deep house groove!

Part three in our Retrospective series sees the breadth of 'techno' music the label has released over the years. Along with Sonarpilot originals such as machine and Orbiter, remix productions from the likes of Brendon Moeller, Kirk Degiorgio and the late, great Trevino are included.

 

The second in our series of Retrospective compilations focusing on genre.

Dub showcases Sonarpilot's love of all things bass heavy and includes dubwise remix productions from the likes of Brendon Moeller, Team Brooklyn, Jonny Miller and a pre Pearson Sound cut from one of the kings of the UK bass scene, Ramadanman.

A look back at the nearly ten years of releases on Sonarpilot Audio, presented for the first time in loose genre form. This first collection of 'beats' inspired tracks features remixes by Jonny Miller, Oriol, Jumping Back Slash and Aybee.

For his third album, simply titled 3.0, producer Michael Moppert, a.k.a. Sonarpilot presents a stripped back, eight track collection of brand new deep/tech house.

From the synth driven opener, the Joy Orbison-esque Ghosts to cuts like Cold Shuffle, Calle Verde and Is It My House, Sonarpilot provides us with his trademark techy stabs, revolving basslines, lush textures and strong melodies.

3.0 picks up speed with Orbiter, a track with shimmering, reversed keys and a infectious, rolling techno groove fans of Kirk Degiorgio would likely check for. Ship Of Clay touches down in Detroit with emotional strings and washing hi hats before finally landing in Africa with rural chants and echoy, tribal tones. After the relaxed interlude of One Ten the album finishes with Machine, rhythmically stark and with a definite nod to Kraftwerk, the track leads out with rolling dub breakbeats, deep subs,and moody, distorted dub effects.

“My first two albums - 'Mothership' and 'Radar' - were were both massive productions, double albums with running times of well over two hours” explains Michael... “3.0 is much more compact, straight to the point if you will. It feels like the quintessence of what I learned from my earlier productions and Martin 'Atjazz’ Iveson's slick mastering has added an extra tight, hypnotic edge”.

Not content with being led by pre existing boundaries, Sonarpilot's productions always do their own thing. He experiments with arrangement, standard studio trickery and track structure to ensure his music is as refreshing and polished as it is unique. Connections can of course be made to house, to dub, to the downtempo sound, but its just a hint, it's Sonarpilot music...

 

Of course like any producer of note, Sonarpilot has his peers and his influences and each digital EP release came with accompanying, specially commissioned remix tracks. Guest producers specially invited to reinterpret Sonarpilot's work within their specific home genre, whatever it was. For the first time, much of this material is being made available on a limited edition, deluxe double CD package for music collectors worldwide. The two 'Radar' CDs feature previously unreleased, original Sonarpilot work alongside their remix titles.

 

Some new and exclusive remixes from the likes of Kirk Degiorgio and Trevino are included on the package along with benchmark remixes from Ramadanman (now known as Pearson Sound) and Brendon Moeller. The CDs and digital package all feature bespoke artwork from New York City's Jon Bailey and there are two specially created mixes of the album, produced by Ableton Live specialist, producer and Sonarpilot Audio Label Manager, Jonny Miller.

"Sonarpilot’s Mothership is easily one of the most ambitious albums I’ve ever heard. It’s ambitious in its two-hour-plus running length, which sprawls over two CDs. Furthering its ambitions, there are only eleven songs in 120+ minutes. That’s an average of over ten minutes per song, with some going much longer than that. Standout track “First Contact” is three seconds shy of being twenty-three minutes of techno. There is nothing concise about the songs on Mothership.

 

But that’s okay, because the songs are good. Somehow, “First Contact” doesn’t sound repetitive or forced. In fact, none of the tracks feel uncomfortable or hyper-extended. Sonarpilot’s deft control of mood and refusal to put stomping house beats to their music makes the listening of the album more of an ebb and flow than a rave.

 

That’s not to say there aren’t upbeat moments that are fit for the dance floor. There definitely are. But the overall feel of the album is much subtler than a Cascada song. With the exception of the gimmicky “Celtic Lounge,” the album is carefully constructed to avoid cliches and vapid fluff. I know that sounds seemingly impossible on a two-hour double CD (which would probably be an octuple vinyl or something), but it honestly goes really quickly. It’s like listening to Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space with no vocals and less angst.

 

It’s hard to point out particular tracks as winners when there’s so much contained in a single track. But the stuttering melodic percussion of “Ripples” provides a great contrast to the mellow synths and clicking beats that so characterize the rest of the pieces. “First Contact” is a concept song (first time I’ve ever written that phrase) about a space journey that’s extremely well-done. “Desert Song” has some nice rhythms as well, hitting the ear nicely.

 

I’m not a big fan of techno music that doesn’t have monster synths, stomping beats and hooks. But Sonarpilot is so good at their craft that they hooked me into two hours of their music. If Mothership is this incredibly enjoyable for those who have a distaste for the genre, I can only imagine the effect it will have on those who love the genre. These techno grooves are solid, melodic, and extremely well-crafted. Highly recommended"

 

By Stephen Carradini, May 2010