Sonar 2010: 17 June

Sonar festival and the sheer volume of offshoot parties that surround it can make Sonarweek almost impossible to navigate. Best to just keep your ear to the ground and keep an open mind

Feature by Chris Duncan | 21 Jun 2010

Tucked away in a street not far from La Rambla, a single black flag is fluttering in the wind above an unassuming shop front. Inside the white walls are decorated with the Minus logo, the record label that boasts the likes of Magda, Richie Hawtin, Marc Houle and Troy Pierce on their release list. This is Minus Ghost Space, a shop that has been transformed, with a back room now hosting a cinema where visual artist Ali Demirel is explaining to a tiny yet captivated audience how 'the music always comes first' when he is creating a video, before delivering the world premiere of Plastikman's Optik. Upstairs Marc Houle plays a subdued set in the bar as a warm up to his performance scheduled for later in the cinema whilst Richie Hawtin poses for photographs with fans who look as though the whole experience may cause them to faint at any given second.

Back at Sonar by Day it's the usual affair of there being almost too much to see, but Round Table Knights have the high ground, working the sunny courtyard with their unmistakable sound that manages to blend jazz and disco in an infectious manner. The Swiss duo are met with rapturous applause and mass dancing as their kick drum heavy set wins over new fans with each minute that rolls on. In the bowels of the CCCB building lies the art displays of SonarMatica, this year's theme being For The Robots, inspired by Kraftwerk's music.

The highlight of the works on offer is without a doubt Robotic Chair, created by Max Dean, Raffaello D'Andrea and Matt Donovan. A generic looking wooden chair sits alone on a stage and then on the hour, every hour, it collapses sharply before revealing its mechanical insides and drifting around the stage picking up the pieces of itself and rebuilding its frame back to normal. Perhaps if our colleagues in the Art section were here they would describe Robotic Chair as an attempt to take the chair, an everyday object in society and turn it on its head. But we're not from the Art section, we're from Clubs, so we're just going to call it "really fucking cool" and be done with it. What philistines eh?

Elsewhere, Ango is busy reducing the SonarDome to a fine rubble with his finely tuned, bass heavy set that is getting bodies jerking at all manner of angles down the front. Merging synth sounds with hip-hop samples, before drawing to a close with Mr. Oizo's Positif and Douster's King of Africa, his performance sets the tone well for the kind of talent that will be appearing on this particular stage over the next few days.

Finally, closing the first day are Robot Koch, consisting of Berlin producer Robert Koch and a female vocalist. The resulting sound is dubstep orientated and fluctuates in direction, making it hard to pin down exactly, but if you imagine Glass Candy's frontwoman Ida No forming a side project with a bedroom beatmaker, you're not far off.

Full coverage of the remaining Sonar 2010 events is available at