Sónar was ace. Some people I’ll probably look out for (or avoid…):
A lovely vocalist in the Red Bull room. No idea who she is. She used one of those delay loop pedal thingies to sing with herself.
Les Anciens: experimental baldy blokes with very tight and clever percussion, bass, random sounding, jazzy but not with the right kind of chords to be jazz if you get what I mean.
Littleprettyautomatique: nice dubby trendy housey DJ set.
Kazumasa Hashimoto: LOVELY. live piano and piano style playing of electronica sounds with live drums.
FM3 with the Buddha machine: BIZARRE wee machines each of which plays 9 loops. There’s a button on the side to decide which loop plays. The performance looked like two people playing a game, moving the machines around, stacking them, knocking them over, sounds picked up with microphones. Looked impressive but we couldn’t really hear what was going on!
Piana: BEAUTIFUL Japanese Sigur Rós-like sounds.
FM3 feat. Blixa Bargeld: WEIRD. Yer man from Einstürzende Neubauten. Lots of delay-loop pedal madness with instrument after instrument fed into it all. Blixa’s voice was put through some kind of scary harmonising layered thing which made him sound like Satan.
Burbuja: PERFECTION. One of my favorite acts from Sónar. (I wish I’d seen Night of the Brain as well—also featured Merche Blasco and Cristian Vogel.) Here, have a listen to Roped.
Beastie Boys: after the initial “WOO it’s the Beastie Boys!” effect had worn off I just thought, whatever :-). Nothing particularly memorable happened.
Nettle: KINDA COOL! electronic drumming action with live Arabic instrumentation.
Black Affair: vocals, drum machine and sequencer, and bass. Dull to watch but sounded like a male-led Ladytron.
Clark: looked like the drummer fell out with the electronic dude at one point. Looked boring but sounded KINDA COOL. Big fat electronica with huge drumming.
Richie Hawtin: bopped away to him for a while! Very serious—wish it had been less gurny!
[Um, some other bands and DJs whose names I’m not quite sure of. I was just kinda wandering around!]
Wolf Eyes: crap, loud, noisy, angry. People with fingers in ears for this, my shorts were flapping with the bass.
Andy Stott: I like his stuff a lot. After Burbuja, though, I really wasn’t impressed by people just nodding behind a laptop—and that’s all he did.
Mira Calix: more nodding. I like her music but visually it was totally boring.
Blackout Concert: this was KINDA FUNKY, down at the Centre d’Art Santa Mónica. Gist: they dumped us all in the basement of an art gallery and turned off everything that makes any noise (water heating, air conditioning, whatever else there is in a building), step-by-step, then the lights, bolted all the doors shut. The silence interrupted only by a bloke issuing orders on a walkie talkie, “Step 1… *tissssst* turn the air conditioning to level… 2 *tissssst*” (presumably—was in Spanish).
Christian Vogel: AMAZING. Up until this bloke’s set I’d decided that techno was no longer worth the misery. Bleepy jerky techno DJ set. The Burbuja crew [I’m not obsessed, honest, I didn’t even mention that I noticed one of the Burbuja dancer people in the Blackout Concert…] were merrily bopping away! Vogel looks a bit like a PhD student trying and failing to explain something mathsy at an undergrad seminar. He sort of stumbled around behind the decks, half-jerking, but still managed to mix seamlessly.
Mogwai: alright, but, MEH!, by this point I was all technoed up so ventured across to another room.
Black Devil Disco Club: AMAZING–just what I needed. Sort of Donna Summery style basslines, bongos, random singing, bloke with long hair and beard. Bouncy discotek, I guess. Audience was a happy audience—much bopping.
Milky Globe: AMAZING—still Lo Recordings. More bouncy happy stuff.
Cursor Miner: AMAZING. I think I like Lo Recordings (also home of The Chap whom I love). “There’s a battle there’s a war / Killing used to be a chore / Now there’s just a switch to flick / Oh so easy oh so quick.” This dude was wearing a ski mask, had flashing lights on his head, wearing a fluroscent vest and Y-fronts. Loved it. Mostly banging trance-techno but I’m sure I heard him sing sonething about philosophical theories of free will.
Altern8: FANTASTIC! They played a DJ set featuring rave classics and the likes of Voodoo Ray, Inner City—hmmm what’s it called—you know that Detroit tune with the vocals.
Much fun had.