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Sonar: Barcelona’s greatest, grandest festival.

We imagine a sizeable proportion of FACT’s readership have probably set foot at some point on the CCCB astroturf, or gaped at the size and scale of the Fira Gran Via. For fans of electronic and experimental music, it’s become an (increasingly enormous) pilgrimage point, and spin-offs in Japan and South America have extended the brand’s reach even further. You don’t even need a ticket to reap the benefits: Barcelona’s clubland whirrs into overdrive over the festival weekend, hosting a slew of top-drawer nights and showcases that often match – and sometimes surpass – the offerings on the official festival programme.

To mark the festival’s twentieth anniversary, we’ve assembled 20 of the biggest draws in and around Sonar 2013, which runs from Thursday through Sunday this week. Below are ten of the best performances, talks and exhibitions taking place at Sonar, and, on the second page, ten impressive fringe events taking place in Barcelona outside of the remit of the festival.


KRAFTWERK
Friday 14
SonarClub, Sonar By Night

The dons from Düsseldorf are about as perfect a headliner for the festival’s 20th anniversary as you could imagine. Expect an embarrassment of blue-chip electronic hits, all rendered in souped-up 3D.


Sherwood and Pinch, Friday 14, Sonar By Day


ONEMAN
Friday 14
SonarLab, Sonar By Night

TNGHT and Melé are doing the rounds, but for an hour of straight-from-concentrate fun, the Rinse FM is still the absolute daddy. As emphasised on the recent Solitarie Vol. 1, party DJs don’t come much better. 


FATIMA AL-QADIRI
Saturday 15
SonarVillage, Sonar By Day

The Fade To Mind affiliate makes politically charged, tag-dodging electronic music variously informed by AFX, Nguzunguzu and screwed Middle Eastern folk music – Sonar in a nutshell, then.


LUFTBOBLER 
Friday 14
Sonar By Day

Arch provocateur Dinos Chapman impressed with this year’s enjoyable Luftbobler album, and he’ll be presenting extracts from the record with supplementary (and, no doubt, striking) visual accompaniment. Probably not one for the nippers.  


OBJEKT
Friday 14,
SonarLab, Sonar By night

From ‘Cactus’ to ‘Shuttered’, Objekt has always delivered – anticipate a set as well-judged and carefully crafted as his impeccably produced techno puzzle-boxes.


FELIX KUBIN & JAMES PANTS
Saturday 15, Sonar by Day
SonarDome

Stones Throw joins forces with Apolkalypso in this meeting of madmen. Heaven knows what a fusion of Kubin’s weirdo electronica and Pants’ parallel universe boogie will sound like, but we’re expecting something properly off-the-wall.


Fatima Al-Qadiri


VATICAN SHADOW
Saturday 15
Sonar By Day, SonarHall

Dominick Fernow’s rattling agit-electro project is always excellent value – in the wake of the NSA Prism scandal, SonarHall might be the only place left to hide from the Man. Fatigues optional, but firmly encouraged nonetheless.


SHERWOOD & PINCH
Friday 14
Sonar By Day, SonarHall

Neatly confirming what we all expected, the ‘Bring Me Weed’ 12″ proved that the On-U Sound and Tectonic bosses make a rum pair on record. Their live team-ups have been excellent thus far, and this joint appearance comes highly recommended.


LORENZO SENNI
Sunday 16
Sonar By Night

The multidisciplinary artist behind last year’s thrilling/terrifying trance nightmare Quantum Jelly will present a full audiovisual elaboration of his project, featuring “laser and smoke generated columns”. Not for the faint hearted.


MATTHEW HERBERT PRESENTS THE NEW RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP
Friday 14
Sonar By Day

Matthew Herbert’s Sonar By Night DJ set will no doubt bring in the hordes, but we’re more intrigued by this comparatively sedate panel discussion.  Herbert will sit down with sound designer Patrick Bergel and AtomTM to talk through the future of the recently resuscitated BBC Radiophonic Workshop.


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SAVE THE DAY 5TH EDITION: R&S 30TH ANNIVERSARY X ONE ILLUSION
Thursday June 13
Parc Del Forum, Rambla Prim

R&S toast their birthday with a headline spot from techno progenitor Juan Atkins, performing as Model 500. Plus: low-end business from Mala, navel-gazing from Nathan Fake, and appearances from Jus-Ed, Mr. G, Space Dimension Controller, Untold and Lone. (Tickets here)


ELECTRIC MINDS & MONO CULT
Wednesday June 12
BeCool, Placa de Joan Llongueras

Before Sonar kicks off in earnest, Electric Minds play host to a selection of sinewy (Prosumer), smooth (Soundstream) and smart (Move D) house music. Increasingly popular Irish duo Bicep also feature. (Tickets here)


HESSLE AUDIO 
Thursday June 13
BeCool, Placa de Joan Llongueras

UK Dance music’s most critically feted triumvirate handle an evening of future sounds. As well as Ben UFO, Pangaea and Pearson Sound, BeCool will also welcome the indomitable Joy Orbison, a live 2562 set and (no doubt starry) special guests. (Tickets here)


Prins Thomas, Saturday 15, BeCool


INDIGO RAW
Thursday June 13
El Monasterio of El Poble Espanyol, Av. de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia

Sound sculptor and master synthesizer Theo Parrish will blend house, disco and funk and, let’s face it, whatever he bloody fancies. Music Man regular Deetron and Cobblestone Jazz offshoot The Modern Deep Left Quartet will help fill out the bill. (Tickets here)


PLANET E
Friday June 14
Esferic Bcn, Placa Dante

C2’s in charge on Friday: Planet E head honcho Carl Craig rustles up arguably the biggest fringe bill of the weekend, bringing along house mage Moodymann, the characterful Nina Kraviz, and Drexciyan DJ Stingray for the ride.  (Tickets here)


AN EYE FOR AN EAR
Friday June 14
Sala Apolo, Carrer Nou de la Rambla

Amidst scores of dancefloor-orientated bills, An Eye For An Ear’s bash stands out as a particularly eclectic option: glitch/shoegaze favourite patten will present a live AV set; Opal Tapes’ Ex-Con will play live; and Nińo, Sunny Graves and Lolo & Sosaku bring colour and diversity. (Tickets here)


THE MONKEY BAR, 33/45 AND PROYECTUAL PRESENTS
Saturday June 15
Parc Del Forum, Rambla Prim

House boss Andrés is the principal pull at this 16-hour open air party, taking place at the Parc del Forum amphitheatre. Mike Huckaby, Fred P, DJ Qu and Steffi help round out a thoroughly international bill. (Tickets here)


RA VS.
Saturday June 15
BeCool, Placa de Joan Llongueras

A mammoth (and faintly unlikely) b2b from Norwegian disco dude Prins Thomas and hypnotic techno veteran Donato Dozzy should make for one of the most unique experiences of the week. Eternal nomad Madteo and Ukranian star Vakula will also take the path less travelled. (Tickets here)


Theo Parrish,  Thursday 13, El Monasterio of El Poble Espanyol


20 YEARS OF KOMPAKT 
Sunday June 16
Mac Arena Mar Beach Club/ Playa Port Fórum;

Kompakt’s free beachside shows have been running for yonks, but, given the label are celebrating their 20th anniversary, this should be a particularly enjoyable shindig. DJ Koze, Michael Mayer and Pachanga Boys offer the best bargain of the week. (Tickets here)


1REDLIGHT SUNRISE PARTY 
Sunday June 16
Parc Del Forum, Rambla Prim

The classiest of the closing parties: Prime Numbers boss Trus’Me, rehabilitated d’n’b producer Trevino, quirky journeyman Space Dimension Controller and Move D top a bill set to run well into Monday afternoon. (Tickets here)


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