We continue to give you an overview of the best Sónar 2012 has on offer. Today we focus on a handful of emerging artists who have been making waves in 2011 and 2012 – and are performing for the first time at the event, with their diverse and radical brands of adventurous electronica.
One of Sónar's major merits has always been that the festival is accessible to an audience that isn't necessarily extremely knowledgeable (sometimes not even superficially) when it comes to the music on display at the event (especially during the daytime), allowing for possible new discoveries. This year's no different, and, as usual, there's something there for everyone. From the synthetic, house-infused sounds of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs to the cosmic experiments of Ricardo Donoso, via the 100% Silk showcase (featuring Ital and Maria Minerva), and the new wave of British electronica (represented by, for instance, Maya Jane Coles and Blawan, who are both destined to become stars in the blink of an eye). And of course, there's room form upcoming domestic talents, such as El_Txef_A, who recently surfaced with his splendid first full-length, “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room”. So, if besides burning the soles of your shoes for three days and three nights, you're eager to discover new things at the event, this is your way to go.
Thursday, 14th June, SonarVillage by Estrella Damm 13:30
His first album, “ Slow Dancing In A Burning Room”, and his performance at Sónar this year, seem to confirm what many already suspected: Aitor Etxebarria, alias El_Txef_A, is one of the best and most influential Spanish house producers. Which is news in Spain, although abroad - like in Germany, and the United States - they've known all along, as Etxebarria has been djing in those countries for years now. Prior to the LP, he already released singles on labels such as Hypercolour, Suol, Factor City, and Fiakum, his own imprint. He's coming to the Barcelona festival with a brand new show, tailor-made, with the intimate deep-house featured on his full-length. We can't wait.
2. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
Thursday, 14th June. SonarVillage. 20:15h.
This is his year. After wreaking havoc on the electronica scene with his early compositions, Orlando Higginbottom is coming to the event on a high, in order to prove he's the dance floor's new darling. With an eclectic brew of rhythms influenced by everything from crystalline house to electro and synth pop, this diamond in the rough from Oxford will cause some serious blisters on your feet with such immaculate stompers as “ Tapes & Money” and “ Garden”, both included on his much anticipated debut album, “ Trouble”, due out next Monday.
3. Ricardo Donoso
Thursday, 14th June. SonarComplex 20:15h
After the excellent reception of his first full-length, “Progress Chance” (Digitalis Recordings, 2011), Brazilian experimental musician Ricardo Donoso has become one of the pillars of the experimental scene in Boston, where he has been living for the past couple of years. His music is a compendium of elliptic evolutions and polyhydric textures from a cosmic perspective, located somewhere between Emeralds, John Carpenter and Leyland Kirby. After his performance at Sónar Sao Paulo, he'll come to Barcelona as part of the Brazilian electronica delegation. Seekers of new unknown pleasures do not miss this.
4. Nicolas Jaar / Darkside
Friday, 15th June, SonarLab. 23:30h + Saturday, 16th June, SonarVillage by Estrella Damm 17:30h.
After the crowds he caused at the SonarHall last year, it was only fair we would get another chance to enjoy Nicolas Jaar's live show in a bigger room. Moreover, this time it will be at night, which will undoubtedly be more fitting for his spectral compositions of slow and sensual house. And if that weren't enough, his gig at SonarLab won't be his only one. The day after, at the SonarVillage, the Chilean-American and his partner in crime Dave Harrington will be playing their codeine-inclined music as Darkside. Both concerts are a must-see for the lovers of the most sophisticated brands of electronica
Friday, 15th June, SonarDôme 20:00h
Hey, you, misunderstood music lover! We know your friends don't understand the line connecting Hot City's delirious house with Juicy J's beats, the doggy-style dancing of digital cumbia, the booty-shakes of Munchi's moombahton and the MTV Base hits of Ciara and Rihanna. But don't worry; we have the perfect solution for you to stop being an outsider among your buddies. Take them to the SonarDôme on Friday, around eight o'clock in the evening. Trick them, tell them there'll be free food and happy hour at the Macba square bar. And don't worry about retaliation, because when they hear Nguzunguzu, they'll be grateful for your bizarre musical tastes for the rest of their lives. Believe.
6. Nina Kraviz
Friday, 15th June, SonarDôme 21:00h and SonarClub 5:30h
What we can tell you about Nina is that she's from Siberia, she's a former resident DJ at one of the most important clubs in Moscow, she's a Red Bull Music Academy student, and the apple of Radioslave's eye. We can also say that, with her debut album “Nina Kraviz”, she earned the respect and conquered the hearts of those who thought there wouldn't be much more beyond the thrifty, sexy “Ghetto Kraviz”. Furthermore, if the Russian's career means nothing to you, and you only visit Sónar to see beautiful ladies, you should also attend Kraviz' gigs: both her live show on Friday evening at the SonarDôme and her closing set at SonarClub that same day.
7. Maria Minerva
Saturday, 16th June. SonarComplex. 18:00h.
This young beauty from Estonia (now based in London) surfaced last year with an experimental brand of lo-fi pop, built with several different sound sources and echoing vocals. Her music is influenced by sounds like disco, house, synth-pop and ambient, and she quickly became one of the household names in hypnagogic pop, especially when her first album, “ Cabaret Cixous” came out. An effort not only based on feminist theories, but also exhibiting astonishing skill when it comes to combining pop and dance music.
Saturday, 16th June. SonarVillage. 21:00h.
Ital is Daniel Martin-McCormick, known as the singer of bands like Sex Worker, Mi Ami, and Black Eyes. His recent project started last year with a single on cult label 100% Silk, on which he revealed his experimental side. It was followed by other releases on which he slowly started to express a fetishist revision of electronic dance music, from the melodic house of the 80s to more rave-like sounds. His music is dynamic, seductive and atmospheric, landing him a deal with Planet Mu for his acclaimed debut album, “ Hive Mind”, thus becoming one of the key names in hipster house.
9. Maya Jane Coles
Maya Jane Coles represents that generation that was born in the 80s, grew up in England under the influence of house, hip-hop and trip-hop, and spent their teen years witnessing the rise, extension, and fall of dubstep. As a producer, she has been able to ignore what was going on outside her head, only letting in what interested her most, in order to shape her own sound. The result: sunny deep-house, with a distinct female sound and a groove that wraps you up in a mohair blanket. Check her records on 20:20 Vision, Hypercolour, Mobilee and her acclaimed contribution to the “ DJ Kicks” series.
10. Blawan (b2b Mary Anne Hobbs)
Saturday, 16th June, SonarPub 2:30h
Though he started to rise to fame at the end of 2010 with his releases on Hessle Audio, Jamie Roberts, aka Blawan, had his year of glory in 2011. That year he released “ Bohla EP” on the mythical R&S, followed by “ What You Do With What You Have”. His convincing release on Clone ( “Peaches”), and his kidnapping and molesting of Brandy on “Getting Me Down”, didn't go unnoticed, either. He is about to release his first record on German label Black Sun, taking his most asphyxiating and percussive side one step further. With that CV, it's no wonder he's gained the title of official squire of the queen of British electronic music, Mary Anne Hobbs, who returns to the festival for a back to back DJ set.