After celebrating its 30th anniversary in jaw-dropping fashion, Sónar 2024 is turning the spotlight of the contemporary music and creative scene back on itself, thanks to a lineup of great cultural resonance-joining dance and electronic pioneers with up and comers from the local and international scenes. A new intergenerational and intersectional edition that intends to highlight the most radical aesthetics and the importance of inclusivity, celebrating different genres and subgenres – ranging from ambient to drum and bass, from happy hardcore to black metal via deconstructed club, memecore, gabber and hyperpop, to meet the needs of different audiences, without being subjected to the hype of the moment or the fascinations generated by Instagram. Sónar thus continues to redefine and inescapably reflect on how a festival should be, removing barriers and always creating new connections between audiences, creative languages and different genres.

Floating-Points-2019-Dan-Medhurst-9564 Last Bloom – Sophie Penrose

With a keen eye on research and experimentation in the fields of music, performance, science and technology, the festival during the three days presents some seventy five shows, including DJ sets and other activities distributed across the five stages of Sónar by Day; it offers more than seventy activities and more than one hundred projects at Sónar+D – that is, the beating heart of Fira Montjuïc; it offers a relevant number of live shows with the greatest DJs around, who perform on as many as four stages, from dusk to dawn, at Sónar by Night at Fira Gran Via L’Hospitalet. In addition, during Sónar week, Barcelona transforms into the world capital of electronic music and digital culture not only because of the presence of Sónar by Day, Sónar by Night, and Sónar+D, but especially because of OFFSónar, THE CUBE, +RAIN Film Festival, and SonarMies – which bring more than three hundred and fifty different activities and more than one hundred and fifty thousand participants to the city.

KERRI CHANDLER

On Thursday, June 13, the stunning Sevdaliza, a singer, songwriter, director and composer who crosses influences as diverse as trip-hop, r&b, punk and even classical music, will open the festival doors. The Romanian-born artist has self-produced all of her work, starting with her debut album “ISON” in 2017, in which she used AI technology, particularly in her visual work, in order to explore themes such as femininity, gender issues and identity. Also at Sónar by Day, on Friday night – after six years since he last played at the festival – Laurent Garnier will return with a three hour set that will make the audience of music lovers and experts, present at this unmissable event, dream. Just as the energy of Kittin (formerly Miss Kittin) and David Vunk will be expected, rather than the celebrated pioneers Stacey Hotwaxx Hale, the first female DJ and house music producer from Detroit’s Motor City, and DJ Paulette – one of the two resident female DJs at Manchester’s legendary Hacienda in the golden age of acid house. While for lovers of hard dark gabber, “The Hakke Show” by Gabber Eleganza, born Alberto Guerrini – “El Diablo” to his friends – who through his label Never Sleep, has bridged the gap between the sonic and aesthetic side of hardcore, post-rave movements and contemporary culture, will be unmissable.

AIR_MATHIEURAINAUD

Among the unforgettable performances: “Virtual Reality Opera” by audiovisual duo Team Rolfes and Lil Mariko; the multidisciplinary performance “CORTEX” by choreographer Kianí Del Valle, with visuals and lighting by Barcelona based creative studio Hamill Industries and exclusive music created by Latin American super-producer Tayhana; the hallucinatory universe of “ASIANDOPEBOYS. PHYSIS” with a six hours multidisciplinary show focusing on music, dance, images and more than seventeen different artists. Also highly anticipated are the innovative and original percussionist Valentina Magaletti, who will present her show “Lucha Libre,” featuring a stage specially designed by Theresa Baumgartner, and the brilliant pianist Kelly Moran, who will use disklavier technology to duet with herself. Sónar+D constitutes an open window on the future of innovation and creative industries, thanks in part to a packed program of lectures, workshops, exhibitions and installations by young artists, start-ups, industry experts, and companies – exploring the latest generational trends related to digital culture. The program will be divided into seven categories – each offering a different path through multiple stages, spaces and formats of the festival.

Valentina Magaletti

Starting with “AI & Music”- promoted by S+T+ARTS – which will focus on the creative application of generative AI, in the fields of pop music, sound art, audiovisual performance, etc., as part of the forum titled “We Are The Music Makers”; “Creative AI, Science & Society” will be a section to find out how AI is being used, from a viewpoint of ethical debate and social impact on technological advances, touching on unexpected topics such as seabed, marine cryptozoology, to literature: in particular, the lecture by two writers Tim Maughan and Joanne McNeil, will cast a critical glance, somewhere between fact and fiction, at the impact of AI, one of the newest technologies in history, on literature, one of the oldest (not to be missed! ); “The Future of the Creative Industries,” on the other hand, will be devoted to fashion, film, dance and choreography as new ways of experiencing art and innovation: the “Dance Dance Revolution” forum will explore the innovative waters of dance and choreography with Kianí del Valle, Gabber Eleganza and Tianzhao Chen. The program of “Film, Visuals & Design”-which will showcase the latest technologies for the creation of high impact audiovisual content – will be associated with the +RAIN Film Festival, organized in collaboration with Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Also of interest will be the conversation with Smith and Lyall, who have devoted an entire career to the conception of the visual identity of the Chemical Brothers. “Digital Identities” will dissect the topic of digital identity, looking at who we are in the digital world and how we interact with it, touching on XR, fashion, Web3, performance and more. “Sound Design & Music-tech” will present new music production tools and surround-sound design techniques – that are transforming the way we create and enjoy music, with a focus on modular synthesizers that have become popular again; finally, “Gaming and Beyond” will focus on the future of interactive entertainment, including videogames, to tell stories and experiences that transcend the screen.

DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION_Gabber Eleganza @ Volksb├╝hne by Frankie Casillo

Sonar by Night will host the legendary French duo Air with their cult album “Moon Safari,” accompanied by a full band, the enigmatic British rapper CASISDEAD with a mix of street narrative and retro futuristic synth-pop, and Jessie Ware with a perfect disco diva show. In addition, Richie Hawtin’s brand new live set “DEX EFX X0X” will recreate the club atmosphere before giant screens and lasers, with a super immersive sound and light show. Bringing her Latin American vibes will be DJ Tayana, with a hard, fast and wild version of her Club Latinx party, in colaboration with Simona, Slim Soledad and Mare Advertencia. Concluding the evening will be legendary New York house artist Danny Tenaglia and female drum’n’bass pioneers DJ Flight & MC Chickaboo. While on Saturday, it will begin with a live show by the one and only Paul Kalkbrenner, which will be followed among numerous shows by the brand new Floating Points show: the veteran British producer, who combines finely crafted electronic music with incredible visual effects. Charlotte De Witte will bring her AV show “Overdrive” to Sonar; while New York Bizen house legends The Martinez Brothers will play until the morning lights. Special surprises for house lovers and dance music historians will include Kerri Chandler playing an entire set of house, disco and funk from his collection of reel-to-reel tapes as a tribute to the pioneers of clubbing. The eclectic and refined sounds of the fantastic Spanish artist JASS will close the doors of SonarLab x Printworks. These are just some of the fantastic artists – who will take part in the 31st edition of the festival!

Charlotte de Witte presents _Overdrive_ – Marie Wynants

Lastly, among the Sónar week’s itinerant events in the city of Barcelona is “Music: Response,” a new audiovisual installation by The Chemical Brothers and Smith & Lyall (Live Visual Directors) – which will be set up in the immersive room THE CUBE at the Casa Batlló. “Music: Response” will feature a never before seen soundtrack of songs, reworked with specially commissioned 360° degree images. In contrast, the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, directly across the street from Sónar by Day, for the duration of the festival, will host the new work of oceanographer Joan Llort, who, together with artists Entangled Others Studio and Daphne Xanthopoulou, will bring “Liquid Strata,” an AV installation that explores one of the most important ecosystems on the planet: the ocean depths. The group has used scientific data in new and bold ways precisely to succeed in revealing the hidden dynamics and layers of this forgotten world, but still to be defended and virtually re-discovered on this precious occasion.

Cant’t wait, with love!

‘Music_Response’ en Casa Batllò


Caterina Tomeo is an art historian who combines research activity with critical and curatorial practice. She works on Contemporary Art with a particular interest in transdisciplinarity and research in the field of New Media Art and Sonic Art. She is Department Head “Design and Applied Arts. School of New Technologies of Art,” and she is Coordinator of the Master’s Degree Course in ‘Multimedia Arts and Design’ at RUFA – Rome University of Fine Arts. She teaches in the Master of “Lighting Design” at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Rome La Sapienza; in the Master of “Economics and Management of Art and Culture” at the Sole 24 Ore Business School in Rome; in the Master of “Management of Art and Cultural Heritage” at Giunti Academy – School of Management in Florence. She collaborates with international festivals dedicated to electronic music and contemporary culture, including Videocittà festival in Rome. Recent publications include Sound Art. Ascoltare è come vedere (Castelvecchi, 2017); Sonic Arts. Tra esperienza percettiva e ascolto attivo (Castelvecchi, 2019); L’elettronica è donna. Media, corpi, pratiche transfeministe e queer, edited by C. Attimonelli and C. Tomeo (Castelvecchi, 2022); forthcoming VOICE. Il fenomeno della voce tra immateriale e carnale (Castelvecchi, 2024). She is editor of “Connessioni Remote,” a Fascia A journal of the “Departimento di Beni Culturali e Ambientali” of the Università Statale di Milano