Best Fit had a fantastic time during the first day of this year’s Sonar – but we were fundamentally unprepared for the wonder of Sonar By Night. Housed in a monolithic exhibition hall complex just outside central Barcelona, the evening shows are the centrepiece of the festival. With four distinct spaces, two of which are outside (and one of which includes bumper cars, on which Best Fit had two near-fatal encounters), the venue is breath-catchingly impressive. Add some startling production values and miraculously unobtrusive security, and you have one of the world’s best club venues.
Here are our picks from Friday, including sets from Sonar By Day and Sonar By Night.
Talabot’s set was one of the weekend’s most anticipated – and one of the festival’s most over-attended. Such was the interest in the Spanish producer’s set, he could conceivably have filled twice over the Sonar Hall, a boxy room in the basement of the site. Those outside missed perhaps the best set of the weekend: a series of deep, disco-inflected pieces that marry ear-worm melodies with a feeling of substance and of solidity. The vocals provide the instantly gratifying focal point, but it is the deceptively complex, heavily textured arrangements that really hold the attention, complemented by a terrifyingly competent percussionist. Very special indeed.
Raisa K’s Sonar started pretty badly. The London artist’s set on the Red Bull Music Academy stage was pushed back by a couple of hours after she had her laptop stolen – a laptop which, it turns out, plays a pretty fundamental part in her act. But she soldiered on regardless, playing a set of metallically distorted pop deconstructions, equal parts cheap synth experimentalism and Roald Dahl Tales Of The Unexpected. Look out for an interview with Raisa on Best Fit soon – and listen to her set exclusively over here.
There is more than a hint of the absurd about Richie Hawtin. The English-Canadian producer is the pristine embodiment of a specific strain of minimal techno, his geometric fringe and tiny frame seeming the perfect complement to his clinical arrangements. There is no element of surprise in a Hawtin show. You know exactly what you are going to get – but, as functional as they sometimes seem, his sets hit the spot pretty much every time. With a relatively pared back visual production the Minus man filled Sonar’s largest room with softly booming kicks and fluttering snares from his own label and beyond. Listen to the set below, courtesy of a helpful Mixcloud user.