‘No sooner have we looked to northwestern Spain and to next month’s Primavera Sound than we’re back in Barcelona – at least musically speaking – as we turn to next month’s Sónar. The one and indeed only International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art this year commemorates its 20th anniversary, and to celebrate it boasts a line up of utmost refinement pooled from the spheres of electronica and organica alike. As with our every Fest Bests feature, we were unable to include everyone we’re restively awaiting over in Cataluña and as such the likes of Major Lazer & Mykki Blanco & Liars & Bat For Lashes have, alas, fallen by the wayside although below be our presupposed highlights for the city-spanning, premium lager-swilling throwdown…’
Posts tagged Sonar.
‘There’s a certain, and certainly clichéd rigmarole which greets the every peep made by Steven Ellison and subsequently articulated via his Flying Lotus SoundCloud account, with every unapologetically scrappy cut and iffy glitch hyped up and machined about to ludicrous, and indeed ludicrously excessive ubiquity. Though S.D.S. – a woozy galaxy bounce once employed as backing for reputedly precocious Pittsburgh wordsmith Mac Miller, the initialism signifying Somebody Do Something – is the sort of gently jazzy instrumental to have become Ellison’s stock-in-trade around the time of the irreproachable Cosmogramma. And only once unstuck from Miller’s wack gumball rhymes does this particular number genuinely become something ever so slightly exceptional…’
‘Still devastated not to be doing Sónar this year, and it’s precisely this kind of impactive deep house that only aggravates that sense of impending loss and longing. Inca Pax is the nom de plume of highly dextrous Bristol-via-Plymouth groove practitioner Cameron MacPhail, and By Mystery is something of an exemplary summertime slink the like of which had it been released via Dan Snaith’s Jiaolong imprint would’ve long since (well, relatively speaking) ranked up there among the dance tracks of this year thus far. Instead, it’s picked up a deplorably poxy 25 plays in a week or so, though you can ensure it accrues the kudos it so doubtless deserves by plating up below…’
‘It’s pretty tricky knowing what to do with an EP really, as they’re too concise for a red-blooded review and too bulky to cover concisely so they’ve got to reside down toward the spectacular end of the spectrum to merit much online acclaim. And that’s precisely where that from Badalona inhabitant Sau Poler weighs in. For as does nearby Barcelona, A Soundless Echo resonates on two very distinct, distinctive, and indeed disparate planes. That is to say that whereas la capital de Cataluña differs illogically from the touristic niceties of the day to the traumatic debaucheries of the night, Sau Poler seems caught between a more meditative, and so too distinctly Mediterranean ambient and the grubbier ’90s garage aesthetic its author calls upon during its mid, and thus appositely more mediocre points. Though as he comes out the other side of the urban mugginess of both Arts Quarterly and Reflections, he hits gold dust [delete, and line up any predetermined powder as is appropriate of Barça here] with the restive skiffle of Love Minded. It reminds me of much of the music I’d inadvertently hear in passing – or rather blared when speeding in my dad’s car – during my teens, and for that alone I’m deeply into it this afternoon.’
But the flipside to all that sultry humidity is a more free, breezy, and Sónar de Día-easy feel employed to devastatingly relaxed effect on Rutes, or irrefutable standout and EP opener, Isolated. Of course it should make absolute sense that it sounds like a vibrant lovechild of Kieran Hebden and Derwin Dicker given the frequency with which the two electronica kingpins pass through Cataluña with coordinates set for either Sónar or Primavera Sound, though this is the sort of blissful rapture bedroom producers the world over coop themselves up indoors for forever – perfecting, yet never pulling off to such immaculate impact. Lapping vocal samples gently grind against ever intensifying, exclusively electronic rhythms and the jejune chiming of a sampler made to mimic the pacific waltz of a kid’s mobile as it swirls giddily from the ceiling above. Hypnotic stuff, this.’
A Soundless Echo is out now on Atomnation.