Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sunshine Underground

RAW's Sonar Review.
The problem with Sonar is that there’s just far too much to try and fit into a 4 day trip. Trying to take in all of the quality music at the festival’s official proceedings would be task enough in itself but there’s also the myriad of unofficial parties put on by labels and promoters in the clubs and on the beaches and if you haven’t done the full Barcelona tourist thing previously not trying to see at least some of the many sights the city has to offer is just rude.

So, having spent our first morning in Barcelona queuing in the baking sun to pick up our tickets and then heading up to Gaudi’s surreal Park Guell to chill out for a bit, Langer, myself and the rest of our rave posse finally got to the festival with just enough time to sink a few beers before James Holden took to the decks on the first afternoon of ‘Sonar by Day’. While his set was pleasant enough and contained a few tasty cuts, he’d chosen to go for an electronica selection so it never really 'went off'.
We chose not to buy ‘Sonar by Night’ tickets this year and having waded through Resident Adviser’s listing pages before we left and seeing the abundance of techno parties that were due to take over the proceedings this decision seemed justified.
After studying the form we decided to opt for the Raum Playa night which had a lineup big enough for a festival in its own right and also read like a who’s who of techno to boot. Having spent an hour wandering round the city trying to get a cab we finally got to the somewhat isolated location and were suitably impressed with our surroundings. However, despite the quality venue and impressive lineup things never really bubbled above lukewarm with music selections across the board seeming to be solid minimal shufflers without the presence of anything particularly anthemic - even the intro to Kraftwerk's numbers was looped to infinity without the gorgeous synths being allowed to drop! Jay Haze was however one exception and definitely an artist I plan to check out more in the future.

Recovering from the night before by lounging around in the sun and checking out some quality beats was the perfect cure and day two of the festival provided the perfect opportunity to enjoy Sonar for what it does best and we allowed to simply be introduced to new music. At the start of the day, there was no-one on the bill that I had any real interest in seeing (only Warp's Clarke but he turned out to be disappointing) but following a day lounging around in various places, Nettle, DJ Muerto, and the snappily-titled Facto Delate y Las Flores Azules all provided quality entertainment and are now on my 'ones to watch' list.

So the night was once again upon us and we kick-started things with the free BPitch beach party - unfortunately we arrived late and the party finished early but we did catch at least some of Ellen Allien's set which was well and truly rocking the crowd. We decided to ease our disappointment of missing out by going to check out the Plantage 13 and night at Moog with Bodzin/Huntemann. For me, Bodzin's performance turned out to be the highlight of the weekend as it was 90 minutes of dirty beats, white noise, euphoric synths and a full on party atmosphere. It was a live set and Bodzin provided added entertainment by wearing white gloves and leaping around like a raving loon - seeing someone that side of the booth clearly having so much fun was a joy to behold!

Bodzin in White Gloves Shocker! Ellen Allien at the BPitch beach party.

Photos: Jeremy Armitage/ Resident Advisor david suñé/Resident Advisor

So our final day beckoned and as I'm sure you're tiring of this somewhat lengthy blow by blow account I'll keep this as brief as possible:

C2C - never heard of them before going but they provided some wicked hip hop cut up stuff on the main stage (not surprising really as my post Sonar investigations reveal they are current reigning 4 times DMC champions!)

Various Production - dirty, dirty dubstep-tinged beats with live vocals - heavy!

Claro Intelecto - Quality Techno / Electronica although nothing particularly outstanding and not quite as good as I was hoping for

Andy Stott - Claro's label mate & much more on the money on this particular day - wicked!

Junior Boys - not bad although the beers were kicking in at this stage

Hey Willpower - entertaining for their ludicrously camp performance but I seem to remember the music being somewhat dodgy

PlanningToRock - interesting video and audio stuff to end the festivities

Right, that's me done. In a nutshell: It rocked - bring on next year!

Andy Stott - Handle with Care // Modern Love

Claro Intelecto - Post // Modern Love

Nettle - Grit (DJ Rupture & Jenny Jones remix) //theAgriculture

Jay Haze - Boring Acid // Musik Krause

Rekorder - Rekorder 8.1 //Rekorder (This is Bodzin & Huntemann btw in case you weren't already aware)

Langer's Sonar Review

Err. What he said.

Our identities are now revealed! RAW (Left) Langer (Right)

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bpitch control party was one my best memory of mysonar trip.
but all the parties were totally awesome (razmatazz with tiefschwarz, sonar night on saturday, minus party on sunday). i was just disapointed by kompakt night in nitsa on friday night
Great to hear two more excellent tracks, from both Andy Stott and Claro Intelecto. I really have fallen in love with these two, recently.
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