If you haven’t heard of Sonar Festival, get educated. It’s the arts/music/tech event that brings together creatives all over the world for a weekend of serious revelry. Aside from their well established music festival (which is now in it’s 25th year) Sonar also celebrates innovation through it’s +D event which includes talks and events that are designed to promote conversation and collaboration in arts and tech.
On Thursday Barcelona’s Fira Montjuic Exhibition Centre opened it’s doors up to thousands of international music lovers attending Sonar. The festivities are famously around the clock, with the day part taking part in central Barcelona and the night part taking place in the outskirts of the city in a row of warehouses. However, Thursday kept it strictly daytime with a whole host of musical treats to tempt the palate and ease punters into the weekend. Kicking things off in with a suitably audio visual flavour- Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones. Probably best known for his co-production credit on Kanye West’s ‘Wolves’ Sinjin Hawke pulls some serious weight. His music bubbled with electricity and, with the help of Sonar’s incredibly crisp sound quality, it made the air pulsate. Zora Jones, hailing from Montreal brought a scratchy, trippy kind of trap to the table. Behind the pair, a large screen projected their forms in colour and light as they moved along to the music. The set was the perfect way to kick off a festival that prides itself on multimedia expressions of art. The music and visuals complemented each other in such an incredibly immersive way, blurring the boundaries between DJ set and performance art.
Sonar is the kind of festival that welcomes a kind of restful exploration that just isn’t possible on the increasingly rowdy UK Festival circuit. People amble between sets, maybe enjoying a beer or two, but always with a sense of calm enjoyment. Before the UK’s own Lil Simz exploded onto the main stage, punters could be seen sitting and soaking up the beautiful Barcelona sunshine. The 24 year old rapper has a healthy back catalogue of music, including her excellent multi-media project ‘Stillness in Wonderland’ (2016) which complied a comic book, festival and album all in one to create a rewarding storytelling experience. With a full band in toe, she rattled through a selection of her work, including ‘Dead Body’ and ‘Good For What’, both kindhearted diss tracks that got the whole audience moving.
The rest of the day moved with pace. after Lil Simz came the dark and murky sounds of Rozzma, a Cario based producer and singer who filled up his small side room with massive bass and wailing horns. Shortly after, and under the gaze of a huge disco ball, and in gorgeous 360 degree sound came Despacio. The powerhouse trio is made up of 2ManyDJs and James Murphy from LCD Sound System and brought some seriously uplifting disco sounds into the room. The 360 degree element really created something truly unique and immersive, giving a physical quality to the music. Despacio will be playing for the entirety of the festival, so its not too late to experience them if you happen to be lucky enough to be here this weekend!
All that, and it’s only Thursday! Keep coming back to GIGsoup for more coverage on Sonar 2018.