The land of the Rising Sun. Japanese artists at Sónar


In this 25th anniversary year, Japanese artists once again take center stage at the festival, drawing on the rich history of electronic music from the nation at Sónar over the years. From Ken Ishii to Merzbow in the early years, through to the more recent performances from Daito Manabe, Nisennenmondai or Soichi Terada more recently, Japanese artists have always found a welcoming audience here in Barcelona.

Pop Magician

It's an honour to welcome one of the most original, innovative and popular artists in Japan back to the festival. Cornelius last played in 2007, with a surprising and imaginative performance that still lives in the memory of many fans. In the decade since, his reputation as sino-pop's foremost magician has only increased, with his most recent LP Mellow Waves, exploring new territory. He'll be performing at Sónar by Day with a full band on stage.

Videogame music and 8bits at SonarDôme

In 2017 Red Bull Music released the series Diggin In The Carts, a look at the history and legacy of videogame music and its enduring influence on electronic artists. The series in turn spawned a wave of international coverage, and a homologous compilation on Hyperdub. Now the experience comes to SonarDôme with three of the shows on Thursday's line up.

The first of these will be helmed by Kode9, label boss of Hyperdub, with a set of music inspired by the images of anime director Kōji Morimoto, including work created especially for the set. (The visuals will be manipulated in real time by artist Konx-Om-Pax.) The second show will focus on two of the scene's original geniuses, Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima, together responsible for a long run of timeless soundtracks including Streets of Rage 2. They'll be performing together with live renditions of some of these classics. Finally, the man behind the series, Nick Dwyer will provide a DJ set of videogame music past, present and future as DITC 音.

The Tokyo-Berlin Connection

Another Japanese artist with a long and respected career will take the stage at Sónar by Night. DJ Nobu, whose ruminative, considered and devastatingly effective techno has made him a legend in Japan, will be playing b2b for the first time with a legend of western techno - the German artist Ben Klock.

And finally, we couldn't leave without mentioning the illustrious presence of Ryuichi Sakamoto, one of the most groundbreaking musicians in the last 40 years, who will team up once again with Alva Noto for the closing concert of Sónar 2018 at the stunning Teatre Grec outdoor amphitheatre.