Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sonar Style

Well we are back from Sonar in Barcelona, the city of porn moustaches, mullet boys and dubious eyewear. And what a time we had, highlights from Friday afternoon were the minimal Dub Techno stylings of local DJ D.A.R.Y.L. and Scape Records presenting Bus featuring MC Soom-T Live, Pole & Live Band and Babara Preisinger DJing. Also the Scissor Sisters played an unannounced show on the main stage in the sunshine. (I'm not their biggest fan but it was fun all the same). The less said about Sonar by Night, the better. I do not like the cavernous venue and feel it is a really impersonal space. The Friday night line-up was nothing special, however Jimmy Edgar had his moments and the crowd went apeshit when Jeff Mills dropped 'The Bells' (Is it just me or has he been playing the same records for the last 10 years? I thought you said Techno was about progression Jeff?)

Saturday's highlights included a set from Fat Freddy's Drop which sounded blissful in the stoned haze of the sunshine, however not my normal listening. Saturday night's best moments included a great funky set from Hot Chip (First time I've seen them live, and would love to see them again in the confines of a smaller club.) However the prize for my favourite performance of the weekend has to go to Isolee. He was magnificent, even if he didn't play 'Beau Mot Plage' his set consisted of tracks from his latest album We Are Monster plus old material and he really kept things kicking by mixing tracks quickly and keeping the interest up as well as the tempo. It made a refreshing change from all the other Minimal Techno that seems to have taken over Barcelona at the moment.

Isolee - My Hi-Matic We Are Monster LP 2005

Hot Chip - Boy From School (Erol Alkan's Extended Rework) One Sided 12" 2006

EDIT: Beatport are doing a Sonar promotion. Download 10 free tracks at

Artists include Richie Hawtin, Isolee, Dave Clarke, Herbert, Modeselektor, Aardvarck, Senor Coconut and Audion.

Jimi James and Mrs Brown’s hot tips for a choice Sonar experience.

Find out what and who is when, before putting your money down. By buying individual day tickets, and not bothering about Sonar by night, you will save yourself the pennies and the headache. Firstly getting out to the night venue can prove a challenge, when travelling on over-subscribed buses after a day of partying in the sun. Secondly, Sonar has become a showcase for different record labels putting on free or minimally charged parties back in the city; on beaches, rooftops and in basements. Read the flyers you get given when queuing. These line-ups often rival if not surpass Sonar night offerings.

Do your research: The Sonar newspaper you get on the first day tries, but still only gives minimal profiles on the musicians. Even better still, check them all out on line before going .

Supplies. Bags were checked thoroughly in evenings but not so much during the day. There is a limited selection of food and drink on sale (vegans, vegetarians, and organic food lovers check out the 6 euro salad buffet for lunch at Organic just 3 mins down the road from Sonar by day, or pack your own picnic, the Boqueria food market is nearby as well.) Disco supplies were not so readily available, and if offered, watch out for dodgy merchandise, as we soon found out. (see picture ‘Alerta’)

Book your hotel/ pension well in advance. Needless to say rooms at the best pickings in your lonely planet were ultra-scarce. Even better than a pension, book an apartment with a group of mates. There are plenty on offer. Hot tip: enquire about a fan or ventilation if you are planning on packing it out with plenty of warm bodies.

Check out the Visual Art events scheduled in relation to Sonar. Music and Art have a symbiotic relationship, and the Sonar venue is full of exhibitions and potential interactive opportunities. Not only that, Barcelona is a very creative city. Hit the streets, check out the graffiti, the museums, and take a walk up to Gaudi’s ‘Parc Gruell’.

Calculate those air miles and figure out how to offset your carbon emissions, or alternate ways of travelling to Barcelona. (One single short haul flight produces roughly the same amount of global warming gas as 3 months worth of driving a 1.4 litre car) Just because you listen to electronic music doesn’t mean that you can’t wear sandals and worry about the future of the earth…

Finally, pencil it in for next year children…

Please don't give your money to the Carbon Neutral Company or any other offset company. It is such a swizz and really corrosive to the sort of action that needs to be taken on climate change.

I refer anyone interested to this short, informative briefing by FERN

and also the most recent issue of the New Internationalist on the subject which will be online soon.

also, check out this article on the coldplay forest in india

They are still selling dedications of tree plantations on the Carbon Neutral Company website at £15 a pop when the project is a complete wash out.

Please, there are plenty of train and bus options to get to Barcelona from the UK, and plenty of ways of meaningfully addressing the threat of climate change without using the greenwash mumbojumbo of offsets.

Langer, I totally applaud your highlighting of the destructive nature of air travel.. hope you dont mind me coming down heavy on offsets... I am writing a briefing on this subject for hence my heated reaction
Don’t be CO2nned

As we begin to face the prospects of a world utterly distressed by climate chaos, many of us are beginning to ask what we can do to be part of the solution. Organisations like CAT have long led the way in promoting the renewable energy revolution we so desperately need as part of a collective vision of a fossil-fuel-free future. Some might argue that the new ‘carbon offset’ industry, typified by outfits such as Oxford-based Climate Care, are playing a part in that revolution. They purport to do this by linking the emissions we create from our over-consuming lifestyles in the privileged North with supposedly climate friendly projects in the Global South. It is, on the face of it, a seductive proposition.

It is also a highly contentious one.

The sales pitch from companies such as Climate Care relies heavily on the charitable impulse of their clientele. Their marketing is reminiscent of the controversial child sponsorship schemes of the early 80s, when some charities’ campaigns suggested that all one needed to do to prevent hunger and disease was ‘sponsor a child’ (or, in the case of climate change, ‘a tree’, ‘a stove’, etc.) and everything would be OK. Don’t worry about analysing the real reasons for child poverty in the South and what really needs to be done to solve it, (or what the real reasons for climate change are and what really needs to be done to solve it). Don’t look at the economic policies of the World Bank and the IMF, corporate plunder of the world’s resources, Northern over-consumption and global inequality. No just sponsor this child in Guatemala (this lighting project in Kazakhstan) and ease your conscience.

The carbon offset industry not only relies on this fundamental disconnect – it nurtures it.

Their appeal is so great simply because they require us to take no meaningful action other than to buy their services. One company, Climate Friendly, guarantees: ‘In 5 minutes and for the cost of a cappuccino a week, you can go climate neutral now.’ The Government is sold on the idea, and has promised to ‘offset’ all its official flights beginning, fittingly, on April Fools Day.

The overall effect of the industry is to make it even harder to persuade people to actually ‘reduce’ their emissions from source. As Jutta Kill from environmental group FERN states: “The only meaningful solution to the climate crisis is a swift switch to low carbon economies. Not easy, but also not impossible – if only we found the courage to give it a real try. And that’s what the illusion of ‘offsetting’ carbon emissions prevents.”

Soumitra Ghosh, from the National Forum for Forest Peoples and Forest Workers in India, who are fighting offset projects in their country agrees. “We have nothing against planting trees or people helping communities in ‘poor’ countries. But if such actions mean that ‘actual’ and measurable emissions of greenhouse gases would continue as usual under the safe cloak of ‘offsets’ and some people would earn dollars and euros out of such supposedly ‘green’ and ‘environmental’ actions, perhaps it’s time to tear the cloak, once and for all.”

Carbon offsets undermine effective action against climate change. They send the wrong signals to high polluters and work against the goals of climate justice. Many offset projects are also highly contentious and are actively opposed by communities in the Global South. Rather than funding some dubious offset projects to absolve our climate sins, we should be focusing on the one thing we know must happen if the worst excesses of climate chaos are to be avoided – reductions at source. Fly less, buy less, regulate polluters and support communities affected by pollution and climate change. The real solution to climate change is social change. Don’t be CO 2nned by the offset industry.

Adam Ma’anit is Research Associate for Carbon Trade Watch (a project of the Amsterdam-based think-tank the Transnational Institute) and a co-editor of New Internationalist magazine which will devote an entire issue to the subject of carbon offsets in July.
i love this remix, i had it but i lost it when my harddrive crashed thanx for posting it.

Thank You for this post, I thought I was the only one who did not like the masses of night #1, and was devestated by Isolee's massive set:
(I missed Beau Mot Plage too).

You caught my thoughts exactly about hot chip as well, and about the boring minimal techno taking over barcelona. Hawtin (my hero not too long ago) and villalobos, were sooo fucking dull and non energetic, that I had to check dave clarke was was absolutly killing in the same time.

Also we were thinking of doing exactly what you suggested next year: buying tickets for sonar by day.
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