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Sonar 2013 (Festival Preview)

Sónar is overwhelmingly good this year. For those who aren’t familiar, Sónar is a 3 day music and new media festival that takes place every June in Spain since 1994. It’s one of the greatest urban festival’s in the world set in a massive aircraft hanger on the edge of the city of Barcelona.

For the 20th installment of the international festival, Sónar is pulling one of the most advanced line-ups this summer with a lineup that includes Diplo, Jurassic 5, Major Lazer, 2 Many DJs, Hot Natured, Pet Shop Boys, Skrillex and on and on and on. There isn’t a better way to kick off the summer festival season and The New LoFi is going to break it down for you by day.

Day 1
Thursday, June 13th

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Liars – The Other Side Of Mt. Heart Attack
Mykki Blanco – Wavvy
Gold Panda – You
Sébastien Tellier – La Ritournelle
Music Go Music – Light of Love (Rob Da Bank Remix)
Lindstrøm & Todd Terje – Lanzarote

Sónar is such a massive event not only because of its size and urban setting but because of the sheer amount of events going on, musical and otherwise. I’m going to focus on the music for this post, however you should definitely check out Sónar by Day to see a list of other events.

Your first day at Sonar should be a day of exploration… get to know the city and where all the venues are. With that in mind, I’ve only picked out a few “must-see” artists to check out on Thursday including Gold Panda, Mykki Blanco, Sebastien Tellier, and Rob da Bank. And you should also give New York talent some love by stopping by Sonar Hall to see Liars. They just released their sixth LP entitled “WIXIW” which mixes their punk leaning sound with a new electronic vocabulary.

Another must must see on Thursday is Linstrøm & Todd Terje. Independently these guys have been killing it for years. Hans-Peter Lindstrøm has been a big name for years now, remixing LCD Soundsystem and Franz Ferdinand among others. And Todd Terje has been slowly garnering a similar name for himself with remixes of Hot Chip and Joakim plus his massive hit “Inspector Norse.” This Norwegian partnership should be a force in the festival setting.

See the full schedule for Thursday on the Sónar website

Day 2
Friday, June 14th

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Major Lazer – Hold The Line (feat. Mr. Lexx & Santigold)
Foreign Beggars – Palm of My Hand
JJ DOOM – Guv’nor
Baauer – Slip
Two Door Cinema Club – Something Good Can Work (RAC Mix)
Bat For Lashes – Horse and I
Nicolas Jaar – And I Say (Xinobi Edit)
Alvin Risk – Oh My – Dirty Dancer (Alvin Risk Remix)
Skrillex – Breakn’ A Sweat (Zedd remix)
Eats Everything – The Size

Friday is a packed day. There are so many good shows to see. The underlying theme for Friday (and maybe for this years line-up in general) is that Hip-Hop has returned to Sónar. The reunion of Jurassic 5 alone is worth making Sónar a Hip-Hop fans destination but you also have the team-up between Brooklyn producer Jneiro Jarel and iconic MC, MF Doom to create JJ Doom. There are also the Hip-Hop inspired electronic artists including Foreign Beggars, Major Lazer, Baauer, and Diplo.

Friday is also an incredible day if you are into Dubstep with names like Skrillex, Alvin Risk, Eats Everything, and Baauer. If you are into something slightly less intense you should check out Kraftwerk at SonarClub. The legendary four piece German group has adapted their show into a 3D performance which should appease your eyes as much as your ears.

The highlight for me on Friday would have to be Richie Hawtin’s DJ set to close out the night at SonarPub. He’s bringing his new project “ENTER” from the island of Ibiza where it started last year to Barcelona. Hawtin has been a force in the techno world for nearly 20 years now and his live sets are unmissable. If there is one show you see on Friday make it this one.

See the full schedule for Friday on the Sónar website

Day 3
Saturday, June 14th

Chromatics
AlunaGeorge
Pet Shop Boys
Jurassic 5
Hot Natured
Beardyman
Skream
Justice DJ set
2manydjs

Saturday is no less packed then Friday and it has some huge names. Like I mentioned before the reunion of LA hip-hop legends, Jurassic 5 could be a good reason to go to Sonar alone. It’s the first time in years that all size members (DJ Nu-Mark, Cut Chemist, Chali 2Na, Zaakir, Mark 7even and Akil) are back together on one stage.

Pet Shop Boys are another heavy hitter, producing music since the 1980’s they’ve been reinventing themselves from a satirical pop group into a house and techno duo without abandoning their synth-pop roots. Newer players to the synth-pop game are the Chromatics and AlunaGeorge. The English pairing of Aluna Francis (vocals) and George Reid have been quickly rising to popularity in Europe and it’s not too long before they become a household name in the US as well. Chromatics have been on a similar global ascent but from the other side of the ocean and with a less pop more synth sound.

Another list of artists not to miss can be found in the Ed Banger series on Saturday. Skream, Laurent Garnier, Breakbot and a DJ set by Justice on one stage makes for a solid 4 hours without having to move venues. And then you have the always incredible performance by the The Deawele brothers (known to the world as 2manydjs when they spin, and Soulwax when they create their music live). For Sónar’s 20th Anniversary they return to celebrate with a genre spanning performance covering hits from pop to funk, from prog rock to R&B, from hip-hop to techno.

See the full schedule for Saturday on the Sónar website