Friday 18rh the first double session of Sónar de día and Sónar de Noche. Close to twenty hours of uninterrupted music, where the ceaseless succession of ideas and the never-ending stimuli of a Sónar double bill becomes something of an endurance test. It is impossible not to miss artists who are playing at the same time. We would go so far as a pact with the devil to be able to be multiply ourselves and avoid the dreaded overlapping of set times. Alas, mortals that we are, for another year we’re forced to be discriminating in our selections, as you will be too. Who knows, maybe the artists who don’t make it onto your agenda will be featured on these pages. And there we will be on your behalf: recording audio and video; reviewing; and taking pictures.
Our Friday daytime starts early at SonarDôme. At 14:00 hours, Galician BFlecha will be playing tracks from her celebrated first 10” for Arkestra, alongside new and unreleased tracks and her recent mixes for other people. Her set is not easy to pigeonhole: brilliant beatmaking, colourful dubstep, synthetic pop and G-Funk filtered by the “purple wow sound”. She has described it as “Three 6 Mafia playing 808s and flutes around the campfire.” If you want to check out Arkestra’s first lady, you can also do so on the podcast she did for PlayGround not so long ago. After lunch, you have a choice between Nedry (at SonarVillage) and Pursuit Grooves (at SonarDôme). Chris Amblin (aka Ekocam), Matt Parker (aka Earthkeptwarm) and Ayu Okaki, form the hybrid which is Nedry, a meeting point for urban pop, floating post-rock textures and vapourous dubstep. On the other side of this clashing schedule, New Yorker Vanese Smith, will be introducing her most recent work as Pursuit Grooves. A personal set of conscious lyrics and galactic beats, her neo-soul of hi-tech tendency has as much in common with bass loaded glitch-hop (think of Ras-G, even Flying Lotus), as with the cosmic classical Detroit sound.Around 17:00 hours, there’s a triple alternative: soulful songstress Fatima (collaborator of Shafiq Husayn, Floating Point s and Funkineven, and associated with Alexander Nut’s Eglo label) will be at SonarDôme; Aufgang bring their a conclave of rhythm and piano keys orchestrated by the six hands of Francesco Tristano, Rami Khalifé and Aymeric Westrich (check out our recent interview) to SonarHall, plus there is bRUNA (some of the best emotional electronica ever created in Spain) at SonarComplex. Whatever your decision, it’ll be a winner. Steve Braiden (aka Braiden) will be raising the rhythmic temperature at SonarDôme. He is one of the latest talents to begin emerging from the London underground and the constantly evolving bass music scene. He’ll be dishing out sumptuous House, post-dubstep, future garage and UK funky with an exceptional technique. Rhythms that will shake your body and your heart. At 19:00, you have an unmissable date at SonarHall with King Midas Sound, and the dubstep soul with Jamaican tones of poet and spoken word artist Kevin Martyn, Roger Robinson and Japanese singer Hitomi. Following, on the same stage, will be Nosaj Thing, which promises to be a spectacle of light and sound that builds on the suggestive beats we’re heard on recordings by Jason Cheung. Halfway through Cheung’s performance, we’re sure there will be some plenty who move across to SonarVillage, anticipating the brilliant Delorean on their home turf. Sónar de Noche will be even more packed with festival goers. You could base yourself at any of the three stages of the Fira Gran Via and be guaranteed an enjoyable time. Firstly, electronica lovers of the less purist type should head off to SonarClub, where the retro-futuristic pop of Air, the smooth disco and emotive electro pop of Aeroplane, LCD Soundsystem’s the post-punk disco, the exotic balearic House of John Talabot (his podcast is just delicious) and, last but not least, 2manydjs, will all land at Sónar with unrivalled visual shows.
In parallel, Mary Anne Hobbs’s contingent ( Joy Orbison, Flying Lotus and Roska) and Hudson Mohawke, will be sharing with us their beats and out of this world basslines. A third option for Friday night is an invitation to join Hot Chip and Richie Hawtin in his Plastikman guise (his live show promises to be legendary) at Sónar Pub before Claude VonStroke, Carte Blanche and Cora Novoa end the party later with an almighty bang.
Flying Lotus or LCD Soundsystem? Plastikman or John Talabot? They are not making anyone’s choice an easy one, and that’s one of the good things about Sónar.
Pack your things. See you in Barcelona.