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11/06/202412 unmissable highlights of Sónar 2024

With just a few hours to go before the festival kicks off, and after having delved into the different programmes of Sónar by DaySónar by Night and Sónar+D, it’s time to take a last look at the complete programme of Sónar 2024 with 12 essential highlights.



1. Air return to the Moon


25 years after their classic debut Moon Safarithe French electro-pop duo Air, head up Friday at Sónar by Night. A critical hit on publication, and still today a cult favourite, Moon Safari continues to enthrall thanks to its rich and timeless sound, linking downtempo electronica with the lackadaisical pop structures of chanson française. As well as launching the careers of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel, the album contributed a number of tracks to the pop-music canon, including the classics ‘Sexy Boy’, ‘All I Need’ or ‘La Femme D’Argent’. 2024 sees the first time the duo will perform the full album in its entirety with a full band, with Sónar by Night an essential stop for lovers of pop-inflected electronica



2. Three sunset sets, helmed by three Sónar classics


This year, the coveted sunset sets at SonarVillage by Estrella Damm will be steered by three icons of French electronica. On Thursday 13th June, Folamour will present his new AV show, while Friday 14th sees the much anticipated return to Sónar of Laurent Garnier. Saturday 15th sees an exclusive joint set by techno and electro doyenne Kittin (fka Miss Kitten) and David Vunk


Other highlights of the stage across the three days include the pop-electronica, hip-hop stylings of the East-African musician Kabeaushé, a hybrid show from Olof Dreijer (The Knife) with live percussion from Diva Cruz, and the category defying Estonian rapper TOMMY CASH, among many more. 



3. Sónar+D: a look at the future of the creative industries in an era of radical transformation


The 12th edition of Sónar+D aims to listen to, see and learn how different actors are adapting to the new reality of the creative industries, with the widespread use of Artificial Intelligence, the economic imperative of platform capitalism and the new frontiers opening up with immersive entertainment and augmented reality now at the center of our lives. Once again this year, Sónar by Day opens at 10am on Thursday and Friday, with a talks programme that will feature more than 370 artists, developers, researchers and teachers and the participation of more than 70 organizations from all over the world. Project Area, with the support of the Banco Sabadell Foundation, will showcase the most creative and innovative projects of the moment, welcoming all the festival's audiences to touch, ask, experiment and, in short, discover. In addition, Sónar+D activities take place throughout the venue, with AV talks and multidisciplinary performances on the dedicated Stage+D, and a number of shows at SonarHall and Complex+D that reflect the themes and concepts of this year’s programme.



4. Discover how artists are using AI to unlock creativity


Over the next three years, Sónar will be dedicating part of its programming to examining the intersection of Generative AI and musical creativity. Following in the footsteps of a standalone festival in 2021, the AI & Music programme powered by S+T+ARTS at Sónar by Day puts the focus on creativity over optimisation, with artists, performers and researchers who are using Gen AI technology to unlock creativity. These include Sevdaliza's AI augmented electronic-pop, the sound art practise of  Nicole L'Hullier or Marta VerdeRob Clouth's algorithmic techno and electronic musician Lee Gamble and choreographer Candela Capitan's conceptual, dance based show ‘Models’, co-produced by Unsound Festival. The programme also encourages hands-on experimentation with the Prompting Afternoons and the AI & Music Hacklab hosted by technologist Peter Kirn and artist Cibelle Cavalli Bastos, as well as a full programme of talks and panels, and demos in the Project Area. 



5. ‘Let’s get (meta)physical’: Performances that go beyond music


This year Sónar presents a number of co-productions from the vanguard of the European scene, each marked by a groundbreaking and radical character. These include ‘CORTEX’, a new live sshow produced by Sónar in tandem with the choreographer Kiani del Valle, the creative studio Hamill Industries and Latinx producer (and Rosalía collaborator) Tayhana

Another Sónar co-production, this time with Krakow’s Unsound Festival, Lee Gamble presents the live show for his recent AI augmented album Models, with choreography and dance by Candela Capitan. Dance as a form of creative expression similarly features prominently in work by Blackhaine, as well as the Italian producer Gabber Eleganza’s ‘The Hakke Show’, while the augmentation of performance through wearables, AV and costume are explored in two innovative shows; ‘321 Rule’ by Team Rolfes, featuring Lil Mariko, and the astounding 6hr performance ‘Physis’  by ASIANDOPEBOYS.



6. A global, and hyperlocal party, bringing together microscenes from around the world


The 31st edition of Sónar brings together pioneers of dance music with the hyperlocal microscenes that are pushing the artform forward, injecting a dose of radical aesthetics and inclusivity. This edition is also a celebration of the diversity of genres and subgenres that defines electronic music in 2024; from ambient to drum and bass, happy hardcore to black metal passing throigh deconstructed club, memecore, gabber or hyperpop. Sónar 2024 goes beyond viral hits or instagram hype, with a curated selection of national and international artists, united by their love of experimentation and desire to impact the culture. These shows include live shows by Aïsha DeviMarie DavidsonVerde PratoLoraine JamesIceboy Violet & NueenToya Delazy La Goony Chonga sets from groundbreaking djs such as DJ GigolaBlck MambaGAZZI b2b DALILADreahorsegiirLAkazieVerushka¥ØU$UK€ ¥UK1MAT$UMeritxell de Soto and breakout artists of the national scene such as Dycepablopablo or AMORE.



7. The biggest names in club music, on the ‘World’s biggest dancefloor’.


The influence of Air - along with Daft Punk, responsible for bringing a melodic sensibility that pushed electronic music into the mainstream - can be felt in the work of three artists at Sónar by night, whose pulsating techno is tempered with a pop sensibility: Paul Kalkbrenner, Ben Böhmer, and the DJ duo Adriatique, all of whom will be playing Sónar by Night. Elsewhere, the biggest names in contemporary club music will direct the crowds on the ‘World’s biggest dancefloor: with Charlotte de Witte’s live show ‘Overdrive’, through to live acid techno from Reinier Zonneveld, via key figures in the EU club scene, Jennifer Cardini b2b HAAiFloating PointsVTSSAnetha and Héctor Oaks b2b Partiboi69.



8. Richie Hawtin presents the European debut of his new live show at Sónar


Few artists explore the relationship between electronic music and technology with more curiosity and creativity than Richie Hawtin. That’s why Sónar is honoured to host the exclusive European premiere of his new live show DEX EFX X0X. In an era of overblown visuals and giant screens everywhere, the techno visionary takes us back to the roots of clubbing with immersive sound and lighting set-up, designed to create an atmosphere ‘more akin to a club than a concert’. It goes without saying we’re counting down the days and hours.



9. SonarLab x Printworks: a slice of London, lands in Barcelona 


For the first time Sónar collaborates with Printworks, bringing the spirit of the much missed UK nightlife institution to Sónar by Night. Taking over the iconic SonarLab stage - traditionally a home for innovations in the UK scene, from bass to grime, drum and bass and progressive club - this new chapter adds production in the form of a 6x10m2 vertical screen and a fresh lighting design. The focus is on AV accentuated sets and live shows from artists familiar to fans of both Printworks and Sónar: CASISDEAD, KI/KI liveOctave OneEliza Rose b2b Dan Shake b2b Sally CJASSSDJ Flight & MC Chickabooand many more. 



10. Hip-hop and r&b continues to evolve at Sónar


Set a date with two of hip-hop and r&b’s most thoughtful innovators at Sónar by Night, as California rapper Vince Staples brings his new album Dark Times to life, while Kaytranada, one of the most influential producers of recent times, will perform another set of his sublime electro-funk and r&b. Other artists contributing to the innovation and evolution of the artform include the incognito British rapper CASISDEAD, and a host of Spanish artists with unique styles and perspectives: Ceuta’s Soto Asa, the Indian-Canary Islander ABHIR, Granada’s Judeline or the upcoming rapper Huda.



11. A homage to House Music: From NYC to the UK underground


Three artists synonymous with the NYC house scene of the late 1980’s and early 90’s come to Sónar by Night on Friday 14th and Sat 15th June. Kerri Chandler, the producer and DJ who brought unprecedented musicality to latin house, presents his ‘reel-2-reel’ show, a hybrid dj set and performance using reels of magnetic tape in place of the traditional turntables. He’s joined on the line up by another legend; dj and producer Danny Tenaglia, whose extended remixes brought pop acts into the club, as well as another legendary duo: The Martinez Brothers

House music continues to resound in clubs around the world today, partly thanks to labels such as Toy Tonics, whose founders Kapote & Sam Ruffillo will present a ‘jam’ of their classic releases, while the unprecedented b2b2b2b from Eliza Rose, Dan Shake and Sally C will point to where house has still to go. 



12. Sónar Week: much more than a festival


With Sónar comes Sónar Week, and once again, Barcelona will become the epicenter of electronic music and cultural innovation. In addition to the line-ups for Sónar by Day, Sónar by Night and Sónar+D, OFFSónar returns to the Poble Espanyol in Montjuic, with parties from Brunch ElectronikX by AdriatiqueSolid GroovesKeinemusikFUSE London and elrow, taking place every day from Thursday to Sunday. 


In addition, Sónar and Casa Batlló inaugurate the new space THE CUBE in Gaudí's emblematic building with the world premiere of the 360º installation ‘Music:Response’ by The Chemical Brothers and Smith & Lyall+RAIN the international AI-generated film festival co-organised with the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, celebrates its second edition on Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12 June, and SonarMies will host the installation ‘Liquid Strata’ by oceanographer Joan Llort and artists Entangled Others and Daphne Xanthopoulou at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion.