The 26th edition of Sónar, which for one year only will take place in the middle of summer, on 18, 19 and 20 July, will present a total of 140 shows on 10 stages across Sónar by Day, at Fira Montjuïc in Barcelona, and Sónar by Night, at Fira Gran Via in L’Hospitalet. Sónar 2019 will present 89 concerts and 51 DJ sets of global stars and emerging artists, many of which will be premieres or exclusive shows with an extensive audiovisual component. A total of 12 shows will use the latest technological innovations such as Artificial Intelligence, data visualization or live scientific experimentation.
The main shows of Sónar 2019
Sónar 2019 will feature some of the most important players in hip hop and contemporary urban music such as New York MC and one of the top hip hop stars of the present millennium A$AP Rocky, British MC grime king Skepta, Puerto Rican hip hop and Latin music breaker, Bad Bunny; plus Kaytranada or Vince Staples, relevant names in the new music that brings hip hop closer to electronica.
In dance music, the kings of the British house, Disclosure; the live show of Paul Kalkbrenner‘s new album; the long-awaited emotional session of Four Tet playing in total darkness, with the SonarPub stage solely focused on sound; or Underworld, classics in the history of dance music, presenting their new project “Drift” of expansive and epic techno.
On the fringes of sound and art
This year features many artists working on and from the fringes of sound, politics, gender and geography. The most futuristic and radical electronic music will come from the hand of Arca, pseudonym of shapeshifting Venezuelan artist, singer, DJ, performer, and experimental music composer Alejandra Ghersi, one of the most relevant electronic figures of our time. With brutal frankness and daring sincerity, her music and performative acts work to destabilise binaries and resist categorisation, instead proposing a third way that incorporates both playfulness and sensitivity. In this special 90 minute presentation conceived exclusively for Sónar, she debuts a new performance mode inspired by cabaret and speculative fiction, which features new material from her long-awaited new album and surprise guests.
The American, Armenian and Syrian artist, K Á R Y Y N, will perfom from her celestial repertoire that unites ancestral Armenian spirits with digital glitches, while Lotic, the Texan producer based in Berlin, will premiere ‘Endless Power‘ from inside a reactive crown of prismatic light created by Emmanuel Biard. DJ and producer Jlin, who has managed to renovate the Chicago footwork and juke scene, will show off her new rhythmic arsenal; other outstanding talents include Palestine’s Muqata’a, Tunisia’s Deena Abdelwahed, introducing the new album ‘Khonnar’, Iranian-born singer Sevdaliza, with a new show, or Ugandan dj and cultural activist Hibotep.
The legacy and the future of clubbing
SonarCar is the circular stage at Sonar by Night that best represents clubbing’s contribution to the history of electronic music. the stage will host the exclusive 6-hour DJ set on Friday night by British producer and musician Floating Points in what will be his only date in Spain this year; and Body & Soul, on Saturday night, the iconic New York collective of spiritual house (with a luxury trio made up of NYC pioneers François Kevorkian, Danny Krivit and Joe Claussell).
The spirit of clubbing is spread across all the stages day and night with names that best define its legacy and future, such as the set of Belgian techno dj Amelie Lens; the special closing of the Germans Dj Koze -with his contemporary house and disco for Friday night-, and Dixon, considered one of the best DJs in the world and leader of the label Innervisions, for Saturday night. In addition, there will be three unprecedented collaborations exclusively for Sónar: Honey Dijon & Louie Vega, Peggy Gou & Palms Trax and Blawan & Dax J.
Sónar by Day features the live shows of the Israelis Red Axes, heavily influenced by their trips to Africa and Vietnam; the dance sets of Ross From Friends, Leon Vynehall and Maya Janes Coles; the new SonarHall show by French label Ed Banger’s SebastiAn; the textured sounds of Daphni, Artwork and Erol Alkan, who will respectively close the three daytime sets at SonarVillage, and the 3-hour set by Detroit legend Theo Parrish at SonarDôme.
Tech shows powered by AI and sensorial staging
Faithful to its commitment to technological advances and with the will to connect Sónar’s programming with that of Sónar+D, the festival presents several shows that explore the relationship between music and the brain, the dialogue between light and sound and Artificial Intelligence, thus applying ideas explored in previous years in Sónar+D and which in this edition come to life on stages such as SonarHall and SonarComplex.
These shows include the world premieres of the technologist Daito Manabe together with the neuroscientist Yukiyasu Kamitani, in a pioneering audiovisual show that experiments with the live visualization of the brain states of the artist while he performs his music; and that of the Turkish creative studio Ouchhh with the Barcelona band Za!, with a show inspired in the theory of super-strings in which the brain waves of the musicians will be screened. Or “PROTO“, Holly Herndon‘s new show that unites a chorus of human voices with the non-human ‘Spawn‘, a sophisticated AI machine for real-time sound generation.
Another light show with a stunning sensorial staging will be Kelly Moran Grand Piano AV Live. The composer and keyboardist from New York, recently signed by Warp Records, will perform her new album “Ultraviolet“, draws its influences from neoclassical to black metal, a sophisticated work with prepared piano surrounded by synaesthetic projections creating a unique atmosphere.
Another stunning experience will be the immersion in video games of the Barcelona quartet Berlinist, the multidisciplinary digital show “Membrane” by Push 1 Stop & Wiklow, the analogical visualization of the sound of Hamill Industries+Shelly, and the original light, noisy and theatrical show by the Italian Quiet Ensemble.
At Sónar by Night, the French duo Acid Arab will present a new show featuring a mystical floating light installation, while the UK artist Murlo will bring his extraordinary performance based on projections of his own 3D illustrations on the SonarLab stage presented by Resident Advisor. On the same stage, the AV show of the Italian resident in Berlin, Caterina Barbieri is postulated as one of the most hypnotic and sensorial experiences of this year, introducing us to her own sonic universe from her experiments with modular synthesizers.
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Get yourself pumped for Sonar with the official playlist!