10 must-see artists at Sónar Festival

From an ultra-rare Metro Area appearance to 3D Kraftwerk, here are our picks of the unmissable acts as the Barcelona bash turns 20.

Having started out back in 1993, Barcelona’s Sónar Festival has been one of the most consistently essential dates on the electronic music calendar and this June it celebrates its 20-year milestone. If you’re one of the lucky ones heading out to Spain next week, here are our pick of ten artists – arranged for your perusal alphabetically – that in our humblest opinion you’d be barmy to miss out on.

  1. Darkstar
    A few years back and the promise of a Darkstar appearance would have promised something altogether more, well, Hyperdub”:http://www.hyperdub.net/. After making the jump over to Warp, second album ‘News From Nowhere’ has seen the trio venture into rich new textural pastures, and their newfangled live show is sure to deliver some bejewelled calm in the Catalonian sunshine.

    Darkstar performing _ A Day’s Work For A Day’s Pay for Yours Truly in London in 2013_
  2. Fatima Al Qadiri
    If an artist’s musical output is an extension of their personhood, one can tell Fatima Al Qadiri’s story is worth a listen. Displaying influences as far-reaching as Sunni and Shi’ite worship songs to juke, it is anyone’s guess as to the direction in which the multimedia artist will take her show.

    Fatima Al Qadiri as Ayshay performing ‘Shaytan’ live at The Tate Modern in 2010
  3. Gold Panda
    Gold Panda’s slot at Sónar will swiftly follow the release of his sharp second album ‘Half Of Where You Live’ on 10th June. Look forward to Chelmsford’s finest bringing his Eastern-tinged, patchwork beats alive with Balearic levels of lavishness.

    Gold Panda performing Marriage live at London’s Koko in 2011
  4. Jurassic 5
    One of Coachella’s biggest draws this year was a reunion for this defining alt-rap group after a six-year hiatus. Live reports have been solid so far, and after stopping off for a UK show the LA collective will head out to Barcelona. Prepare to party like it’s 1999, and anticipate spins for stone-cold classics Concrete Schoolyard and Quality Control.

    Jurassic 5 performing _Concrete Schoolyard live at Coachella in 2013_
  5. Kraftwerk (3D show)
    While Detroit is well-repped on the same night with the Belleville Three’s boundary-pusher Derrick May and Minus boss Richie Hawtin making appearances, all eyes (and 3D glasses) will turn on Friday to the Germans who started it all. Off the back of their 12345678 concert series, recently wowing at the likes of London’s Tate Modern and Düsseldorf’s Kunstsammlung NRW, Ralf Hütter and co will plug in on the live show for a standardly unmissable performance.

    Kraftwerk performing _Musique Non Stop live in Düsseldorf in 2013_
  6. Lindstrøm*” & Todd Terje
    With one of them being a Norwegian disco-adoring producer possessing the most incredible ear for a synth hook, and er, the other being a Norwegian disco-adoring producer possessing the most incredible ear for a synth hook, you’d think their teaming up was a no-brainer. And it is. As is obvious from the evidence provided below, the sheer joy induced by Lindstrøm and Todd Terje’s sound on Sónar’s opening night is sure to be the most fun-lovin’ way to kick off the proceedings.

    Lindstrøm & Todd Terje performing ‘Lanzarote’ live at Nuits Sonores festival, Lyons, in May 2013
  7. Matthew Herbert
    Expect the unexpected from an artist who doesn’t even need to leave his front door to feel musically invigorated, and whose latest jazz forays were built around a 10-second field recording of the Libyan conflict. One of the UK’s genuine mavericks returns to Sónar to DJ on the Friday night.

    Matthew Herbert performing ‘One Club’ at Sonar in 2010
  8. Metro Area
    Between 1999-2007, the NY-based duo of Morgan Geist (aka Storm Queen and Baby Oliver) and Darshan Jesrani released seven editions of debonair modern disco, unparalleled in their beauty, depth, and most-importantly, grooviness. This summer, Geist’s label Environ shall be releasing a remastered double pack of Metro Area’s A-sides – the smugly-titled ‘Straight A’s’ – and their performance at Sónar will be an ultra-rare affair, being their first live show since their recent reunion.

    Metro Area performing live at 10 Days Off Festival, Belgium, in 2003
  9. Panoram
    Surely the only rescue remedy for getting over the previous night’s hedonism would be checking out Panoram’s lunchtime set on the Saturday. While he may have only released one (frankly essential) EP 17 months ago, the Italian producer-on-the-rise’s free-flowing jazz-inflected music is sure to be the aural equivalent of a strong bloody mary, on a beach, around your loved ones.

    Panoram performing live for Boiler Room, April 2012
  10. Vatican Shadow
    Having only debuted his live show as Vatican Shadow in 2012, Dominick Fernow is to bring his blistering, concept-driven techno/noise to Sónar on the Saturday night. And don’t expect to see an unenthused man meekishly hiding behind his laptop; having seen his truly entrancing set in London’s Blackest Ever Black night in autumn 2012, we can confirm that Fernow sure gets into the mood of things while on stage.

    Vatican Shadow performing for Blackest Ever Black, from 01:15 onwards, in October 2012

Sonar will take place from the 13th – 16th June 2013; get more information here.

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