Cutting edge sounds, experimentation and risk at Sónar Barcelona


Quite simply, Sónar wouldn't be the festival it is today if it wasn't for the constant presence of those musicians, producers, vocalists, bands and composers choosing to take the risks necessary to push through musical boundaries, advancing the sound as well as the discourse around music. For Sónar's 25th  anniversary edition then, we've invited back some of the most groundbreaking artists of the last quarter century, along with the new generation of artists, continuing to push things forward.

Eminences of experimental music

Synonymous with developments in computer music, and in the blurring of lines between recorded music and contemporary art is Alva Noto. The man behind the alias, Carsten Nicolai will be returning to Sónar with his new show UNIEQAV, a new approach to his trademark explorations of sonic and visual minimalism. Equally at home with artistic discourse and the dancefloor is Lorenzo Senni, whose recent deconstructions of trance builds and the syntax of 90's rave have led him to a new home on Warp records; while another modern iconoclast, Laurel Halo will present a live show with jazz percussionist Eli Keszler at SonarComplex.

As in past years, the auditorium space of SonarComplex becomes a mecca for lovers of experimental music with two further performances of note: The duo Die Angel, formed of Schneider TM and Ilpo Vaisanen, will present their latest album, dedicated to much missed experimental pioneer Mika Vaino, and Spain's own Francisco López.

Neo-Avant Garde

If Sónar2018 looks back on those artists who've shaped the discourse of the avant garde over the past quarter century, it also looks forward to the new generation of artists continuing to push boundraries. Chino Amobi is key in the movement for his heavily politicized brew of metal, noise and industrial beats, while the US Duo Second Woman will over an a/v show at SonarHall with visuals by the consistently innovative German studio Pfadfinderei. Red Bull Music Academy also continue to support artists at the outer limits with Claude Speeed's expressive insanity, and a new double act: DECISIVE PINK formed by Angel Deerdorian and Kate NV.

Sónar has always believed that experimental music should be for moving your feet as much as staring at them, and Sónar by Night provides the perfect venue for the more out there tendencies in dance music. This year, those trends find an outlet on the SonarLab stage on Saturday Night with a diverse line-up co-curated by Resident Advisor. From the globe trotting unsyncopated beats of opener JASSS, who has caused a buzz with only one release, through to a live show by Lanark Artefax, the young Scot tipped as a successor to Aphex Twin. And last but not least, Germany's Errorsmith, who's sliced and layered experiments with vocals on the astounding Superlative Fatigue LP have brought renewed attention to this elusive producer. After all, it doesn't get more cutting edge than an artist who created software for Native Instruments called 'razor'!.and for Russell Haswell, tireless researcher of the possibilities of noise and extreme sounds as a form of artistic expression, who will perform at Sónar by DayDolo accompanied by artist and vocalist Sue Tompkins.