Barcelona’s Sónar Festival has become one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the world. Much like Movement in Detroit, it’s also spawned a network of unaffiliated “Off- Sónar” parties around the three day, two-night event. Before diving into the fray, we enlisted veteran DJ and local favorite Marc Piñol, a longstanding resident at Nitsa and an ally of John Talabot’s Hivern Discs label, to pick some of the week’s standout events. Here are nine parties where he’s most likely to be in the crowd if he’s not in the booth.
The Hivern Discs party is the first one I’m going to attend because I’ll be playing some records during the warm-up. The venue, El Monasterio, is a lovely place at the top of Barcelona’s Montjuic mountain. John Talabot, Joy Orbison and Barnt will DJ, and Genius of Time member Dorisburg will play live. I’ve been looking forward to seeing him since I heard some of his new music for Hivern, which is seriously next-level stuff. Last but not least, a very special guest will made an appearance onstage around 21:30, but that’s as much as I can say.
This party has a monster line-up that includes Rødhåd, the Zenker Brothers, Vril, Stenny, Konstantin, Recondite, Marcus Worgull and RNDM. It’s always exciting to have some Giegling artists playing in Barcelona, since it’s one of my favorite labels, and of course I couldn’t be more excited about Vril’s live set. His album Torus is one of my favorite techno LPs of the last years, and I’m digging his new album on Delsin too.
If I had to choose just a couple of names from this year’s Sónar Day line-up, I would choose Lee Gamble and Autechre. Both of them are very important to me, and it’s really interesting to see these kind of live sets during the day, especially with my friends around. It makes me fondly recall when Sónar was just a small festival and people were a bit more open-minded. I miss the more experimental parties in the Off-Sónar schedule, but I guess people aren’t coming to Barcelona for that.
My favorite venue in Barcelona—the place where I grew up, musically speaking—will host a Numbers and Optimo special showcase. Numbers bosses Jackmaster and Spencer will play alongside JD Twitch, JG Wilkes, Lory D and a joint performance from Adesse Versions and Kornél Kovács will play during the night. I’m really excited to see Optimo again and very intrigued about the Lory D set. I’ve always been a very big fan of his early releases, and he’s one of the producers that made me realize I wanted to dedicate my life to music when I was in my early teens.
Daniel Bell, Mike Huckaby and Thomas Melchior. Enough said.
Carreno is LB, Powell, Paranoid London, Randomer and Helena Hauff are playing on one stage in that order. That’s probably gonna hurt a lot. Like everyone, I really want to see Powell, and if I still have some energy left, I would like to see them all. Carreno is LB comes from the Canary Islands and plays a very dark electro, Paranoid London is my favorite acid project right now, Randomer is simply a beast and Helena Hauff released my favorite tape of the year, A Tape, on Handmade Birds.
This is probably one of the most solid line-ups of the entire off-Sónar week. It features Actress, Function, Mix Mup, Pariah, Christopher Rau, Florian Kupfer, Huerco S, Route 8, Asquith and Edward, among many others.
If seeing Marcellus Pittman, Ron Morelli, Makam, Steve Rachmad and Shed is not enough to excite you, consider that the sets will take place at Vetro Club, which is one of the best-kept secrets in Barcelona. It’s not easy to find the place, but once there you have an amazing view of the Tibidabo mountain. The funny thing is that, during the rest of the year, it’s one of Barcelona’s most posh clubs in Barcelona, so Morelli has license to be as weird as he can be in order to offset the bad karma.