Category Archives: Festivals

The muses of La Musa: Bedouine

The smooth, hypnotic voice of the Syrian singer and composer Bedouine, whose real name is Azniv Korkejian, could be compared with that of Karen Dalton, Minnie Riperton or Laura Marling. The leisurely echoes of Bohemian folk from the 60s, served up as if they were infusions of bossa nova, are capable of fully attracting the listener. Her debut album, which bears her name, was produced by Gus Seyffert (Beck, Norah Jones, The Black Keys). In Barcelona she will present her second album, Bird Songs of a Killjoy on Saturday 21st of September at 9PM at Pça Joan Coromines.

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The muses of La Musa: Arlo Parks

Half way between indie R&B and soft rock, the compositions of the extremely young London singer Arlo Parks talk about the everyday life of a new broken and sad generation. Her subjects, inspired by her friends and her own problems and hopes, are delicate and melancholic pieces with a great emotional load. Parks comes to Barcelona to present her first EP, Super Sad Generation, with which she has won the unanimous recognition of critics in the United Kingdom. Her not-even-20 years give even more value to this artist, who has been compared with artists such as Portishead and Syd Barrett. Next 20th of September at BAM Festival.

The muses of La Musa: Holly Herndon

Since releasing “Movement” a decade ago, Herndon has consistently pushed at the boundaries of music creation, in the process further erasing the line between programmer and musician. Concerned intimately with the internet and the networked individual, her 2015 LP Platform is considered a watershed moment in the scene. As we approach the end of the decade, Holly continues to explore the nature of our reality as humans through technology like no other being. Today at 16.30 at Sónar.

Sónar 2019

The Sónar festival of arts, design, and electronic and advanced music, which won the Time Out Barcelona Award for 2018, fills up the summer in the city once again – from Thursday, July 18 to Saturday, July 20, this year a month later than usual – with top-notch artists such as American rapper A$AP Rocky and London grime producer and MC Skepta, as well as emerging stars like Ross From Friends, Octavian, Murlo, Bad Gyal and DJ Andy C.

Bad Bunny is a Puerto Rican international superstar, singer and producer who moves between pop, trap and reggaeton, and he’s one of the big draws to Sónar by Night this year. As for experimental music during the festival, Sónar closes out this year’s edition with The Matthew Herbert Brexit Big Band on Sunday July 21 at the Teatre Grec, where the Herbert is accompanied on stage by more than 20 musicians and 50 voices from the local Pilot Choir from the ESMUC music school.

The audiovisual projects from Daito Manabe and ZA! show us how music affects our brains, and audiovisuals also play a part in ‘Flamenco is not a crime’ from Los Voluble (who you may have caught if you were at Sónar in 2015). They’re added to a line-up that also includes performances by avant-garde pioneers in Spain Macromassa (Víctor Nubla and Juan Crek), Eastern rhythms from Acid Arab, and sessions by Louie Vega & Honey Dijon, Jarreau Vandal and DJ Krush, among others.

Other big draws to this 26th edition are British band Disclosure with their quality house with mainstream potential and a new DJ show, and the new live show from Paul Kalkbrenner, one of the most homegrown producers on the Berlin techno scene, with his eighth effort, ‘Parts of Life’ (2018); performances by Four Tet (in their only festival show in Spain this year); Arca, presenting new material; hip-hop hero Vince Staples; a session from DJ Koze; an audiovisual show from Underworld; Holly Herndon, accompanied by an ensemble of vocalists, musicians, and AI machines; and live acts by Jlin, Kaytranada and Fennesz.

As for the DJ sessions, watch out for Dixon, closing out Sónar by Night on Saturday, the six-hour set from Floating Points, Maya Jane Coles (presenting her project of urban bases, Nocturnal Sunshine, during Sónar by Day), Amelie Lens, Artwork, and Blawan & Dax J. More recently added to the line-up of DJ sets are Daniel Avery, Erol Alkan and Body & Soul, and the live shows from Dengue Dengue Dengue, Kelly Moran (with a spectactular Grand Piano AV Show), and Red Axes.

As usual, the audiovisual shows are also a big attraction, like the one being debuted by British producer Actress, who will perform live with AI software, the one from Tunisian producer Deena Abdelwahed, and the one from Berlin art-grime figure Lotic.

You’ll also be able to check out live shows from Nicola Cruz, K Á R Y Y N, Mans O, pianist Bruce Brubaker (who, along with electronic music producer Max Cooper, recreates ‘Glassforms’ by minimalist composer Philip Glass), FKJ, Slikback, Hibotep, Catnapp, Cecilio G, Brat Star and De Valentina.

Another of the festival’s strengths is the Sónar+D congress dedicated to creative technologies, which this year is now in its 7th edition and on from July 17 to 20, bringing together key people and projects that are shaping the future of design, music and creative technologies.

Highlights include the design of experiences with teamLab, an interdisciplinary study of immersive digital technology recognized worldwide as the most influential in the field of digital creation, and Japan’s Daito Manabe and neuroscientist Yukiyasu Kamitani, who will present their unique research to visualize our thoughts.

You can also learn about the success stories of CANADA (tops in the field of directing videos), Teenage Engineering (Swedish synthesizer design company), and the multi-award-winning artistic videogame Gris.

Divus Julius presents: Octavian

Everyone is talking about Octavian. With one foot in Grime and the other in the spaciest reaches of the rap world, this young French born, London based artist has quickly found his own sound, impossible to categorise but unquestionably unique. His lyrics, mature, reflective but honed in the streets, convey the worldly nature of a man who at 21 years of age has been through the death of his father, a cultural uprooting (from France to Camberwell) and the contradictory peaks of attending two years on a scholarship to London’s private Brit School, followed by long stretches sleeping between friends sofas and the street.

Perhaps it’s due to these conflicting experiences that his tracks startle for their open minded approach to genre: drawing on spacey synths and hard edged trap beats, before veering into house or techno breakdowns. This virtuosity is on display in his early hits – Party Here (with more than a million views on youtube), 100 Degrees or Little – as well as across his two mixtapes to date: Essie World and Spaceman, both of which were critically lauded for their intelligence, authenticity, range and profound sense of rhythm.  This friday at 00.50AM at Sónar.

Favourite Gig: Kraftwerk

Following their successful worldwide 3D concert tours, the pioneers of electronic music Kraftwerk present their show at the Festival Jardins Pedralbes. Their compositions, which employ innovative techniques, synthetic voices and computerized beats, have made a huge international impact on so many music genres. During their live concerts, Kraftwerk (made up of Ralf Hütter, Henning Schmitz, Fritz Hilpert and Falk Grieffenhagen) illustrate their belief in the respective contributions of human and machine.