The festival madness continues, dear reader, and courtesy of a fine WiFi connection at my Barceloneta lodgings, I’m going to try to give updates over the next few days. I’m here ostensibly for Sonar, a bit of relaxatation before the ad madness in Cannes, so might as well drop some insight in for y’all at home.

Sonar is in its thirteenth year, and by now it has become a city-wide occurrence. So much so, in fact, that the off-site offerings are tantamount to the booked artists, and as taste may have it, I’m looking much more forward to the offerings around town than at the actual festival itself.

The daytime component is held in the MACBA, a contemporary art museum near Barcelona’s center. Yearly it’s repurposed with several stages, multimedia art components and all the usual festival trappings. The evening component is a little further afield, but I haven’t had a chance to check that out yet.

The Knife were a late entry to the festival lineup, and the last-minute nature probably caused the grief surrounding their performance yesterday. They were in the Escenario Hall, an underground theater area at the main Sonar complex. They stood out as one of the stronger artists on the bill, and twice as many fans wanted to see them as could fit in the hall. The result? A courtyard full of folks following along on a video screen, reticent to clap at a performance taking place two stories below them. I too was trapped aboveground, trying to choose between paying attention to the set (mostly stuff from Silent Shout with a tweaked version of Heartbeats thrown in) and waiting in a mass of people hoping to be let down. Groups were allowed down every twenty or so minutes, so about 45 minutes into their performance (they were billed as 5-7 p.m.) I decided to wait. Well, as you’d imagine, when our group got through around 6, the performance was ending.

Later I made my way to the Mobilee records showcase, at Raum. They’ve been on my radar for a few months as one of the tribes making delightful techno out of Berlin, and last night was a confirmation etched in stone. First artist I caught in the Raum basement was Sebo K, who played a clean, divergent set of minimal techno, perfect primer for Excercise One on a live rig, blasting out deep bass and twerked, busy techno. Following the duo, Anja Schneider tore it up. Neu rave loudness, with patches of atmosphere and big, nasty basslines. I really dug her style, physical performance-wise–she’d throw records onto the decks with a sort of semi disgust, leaving them to wobble around off the stem for a minute while she jammed to what was coming out the other table. Travel caught up and I had to split before Patrick Chardronnet, playing live, got into it.

Today I’m off to venerable Barcelona institution S,C,P,F and then it looks like an afternoon at the beach, despite the show that just cleared the sand (yes, I’m looking at the beach between sentences…and it looks glorious.). BPitch Control is throwing a seaside do, and later on it’s Kompakt vs. Freude Am Tanzen in what looks to be an epic evening at Nitsa. I’m excited to see the Wighnomy Brothers for the first time. Check out the calendar here, dear friend, and send me a note about what you think’ll be good. Photos (and maybe a vid or two) tomorrow.

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