The constellations of Sónar by Night: 1. Music for your eyes and ears

10/05/2018

So full of stars are the nights at Sónar, that several of the acts can be grouped into constellations; each one representing a distinct sonic universe.

The first of these concerns those artists who employ cutting edge audiovisual technology to tip the scale from show into spectacular, and who will be performing on both nights at Sónar 2018.

Befitting the virtual times we live in, Gorillaz have played with the line between reality and fiction since their inception as the 'world's first cartoon band' in 1998. With the visual side as instrumental to the concept of the project as the music, each of their 5 LP's has been matched by promotional campaigns that harnessed the latest technologies, from CGI graphics to holograms to augmented reality - all of which has naturally fed in to their corresponding live shows. With their latest LP 'Humanz', the band are at a creative and conceptual peak - legitimately one of the biggest bands in the world, and functioning as a platform for collaboration, criticism and introspection on our present political moment, in which the live show plays a key role. Drawing on elements from the Humanz world tour, their show on Friday 15th June is likely to be one of the key concerts of Sónar 2018.

No less adept at creating a party atmosphere are LCD Soundsystem, whose mastery of both the live and recorded format is world renowned. One of the few acts capable of transmitting the energy of a punk club to an arena space, the group will return to Sónar for the first time in almost 10 years, to celebrate the anniversary with a party for you, and All Your Friends, on Saturday 16th June.

It goes without saying that both Gorillaz's love of genre experimentation, and LCD soundsystem love of vintage synths and exploring the possibilities of hardware have a common denominator and antecedent in Thom Yorke. The Radiohead frontman has long occupied a space between mass acclaim and creative freedom, and his solo show, one of only a handful of dates with producer Nigel Godrich and visual artist Tarik Barri, promises to show off both sides of this enigmatic showman and musical visionary. Featuring live 3D visuals, the show promises to be a feast for the eyes as well as the ears.

Technology and music also go hand in hand in the work of Richie Hawtin. A long time friend of the festival, Hawtin's pursuit of sonic perfection in techno has made him a global superstar, whose developments in sound are amply matched by his use of a/v in his shows. On Saturday 16th, to mark the 25th year of Sónar, Hawtin will perform his show CLOSE, a perfect synthesis of live techno and triggered visuals at Sónar Club.

Following on from Hawtin's example, but operating in a very different genre, superproducer Diplo likewise harnesses all the power of a live show in his DJ sets. A modern master in party starting the ever energetic Wesley Pentz will pull no punches with his set at Sónar by Night, funnelling all the energy of carnival into a globetrotting survey of bass music from around the world at SonarClub on Friday 15th.

It's no surprise that as more and more electronic producers experiment with the live format, so too do they harness the live energy of a full band. This will be the case with Bonobo's show on Friday at SonarClub, which will bring his ample back catalogue to life at SonarPub, before he explores his influences with a DJ set at SonarLab. Just a few of the unmissable live shows at Sónar by Night 2018.