“Two is the magic number”: High flying 'duets' at Sónar Barcelona


Teaming up with another well-known artist can often be dismissed a cynical unit shifting gesture by musicians on the rocks. Not so at Sónar 2018, whose 25-anniversary edition proudly presents a number of great twosomes whose creative collaborations show them at the peak of their powers - with a great many of these debuting at the festival. In this case 1+1 = much more than 2.

Doubling the odds at Sónar by Night

The DJ booth is a natural petridish for the cross germination of styles and inspirations, so it's no surprise that many of the world's best DJ's are teaming up at Sónar 2018.

One such duo who share a natural affinity are old acquaintances Motor City Drum Ensemble & Jeremy Underground, whose individual reputation as musical archaeologists of the highest order is equalled if not surpassed by the legendary status of their few outings together in the past. Talking of reputations, few DJs are as well respected in techno as Ben Klock & DJ Nobu, who will be playing together for the first time on Sat 16th June at SonarLab. The night before, the same stage sees what could be the set of the festival, with another first - Kim Ann Foxman and the inimitable Miss Kittin, returning to Sónar after too long an absence. Expect mutant club music, dark synths, and twisted disco beats from across dance music history. The perfect soundtrack to bring up the sun at SonarLab.

Talent Squared at Sónar by Day

No less suited to collaboration is Sónar by Day, with a number of double header live performances including Niño de Elche & Israel Galván - leading voices in neo flamenco and contemporary dance respectively. Another debut to watch is that of Maja Ratkje and Katarina Barruk, two Scandinavian vocalists cured in the experimental and folk traditions who will present Avant Joik, a show inspired by the northern wilderness of their homelands.

The UK also adds to the mix with sound artist Russell Haswell meeting art historian (and ex-member of Life Without Buildings) Sue Tompkins for an explosive meeting of spoken word and sonic warfare. Taking things even darker at SonarComplex, Demdike Stare and Michael England present their bass heavy, visually enthralling live show.

Equally at home in the gallery, the classroom and the club, the long standing partnership of Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones, the duo behind the Fractal Fantasy label and club nights, present their debut a/v performance. A show that promises to be nothing short of visionary.

Partnering up at SonarDôme

For another year, Red Bull Music Academy present an astounding line up at SonarDome, yet again pushing the envelope when it comes to innovative collaborations. The list is as long as it is brilliant: Tony Allen & Amp Fiddler, Dabrye & Kadence, Clip & Cora Novoa, DJ Earl & Nick Hook, DJ Stingray & Mumdance, Suzanne Kraft & Jonny Nash, Violet & Photonz, Kode9 & Kōji Morimoto, Yuzo Koshiro & Motohiro Kawashima, Decisive Pink (Angel Deradoorian & Kate NV) and Territroy (Mr. Statik & Larry Gus), as well as the three minds behind Studio Barnhus (Kornél Kovács, Axel Boman & Petter Nordkvist) and an outing by Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement (Vatican Shadow, Low Jack & Silent Servant).  

Great minds at the closing event

Great minds do think alike, and there's no better example than the live concert presented by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto at Barcelona's Teatre Grec. This will be the second time the duo have performed together, and the world premiere of new show 'Two'. Stay tuned for more information on this momentous show.