Friday, July 23rd, 2010 | News | No Comments
Sad news down at Radio 1 headquarters today. We’re hearing on the grapevine that she’s set to leave the radio station in September to follow a career in teaching. After 14 years of pushing the leftfield on Radio 1, she’s bowing out at the top of game, moving on to teach and mentor students at the University of Sheffield’s radio, TV and newspaper outlets. Lucky them! You couldn’t get a better mentor than that. She’ll also continue her curative work with Sonar festival which has seen her dubstep showcase grow in strength over the years.
The last show is on the 9th Sept 2am -4am.
Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 | Event Preview | 1 Comment
It’s always a bit of a nightmare getting around a place that you don’t know, especially in a foreign country where you don’t speak the lingo. So to help you fellow party people, we’ve thrown together the earPIPE Sonar Disco Map which marks out all the clubs and venues where the parties are happening this year.
Feel free to use it, point to it, shove it in the face of unsuspecting locals or taxi drivers, or even show off to other uninformed clubbers who aren’t as touristy to bring a map.
Get the whole map here.
View earPIPE’s Off Sonar Disco Map in a larger map
Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 | Event Preview | No Comments
Ahhhh, March is here. This can only mean the better weather, summer time, festivals, outdoor raving and plenty of debauchery. The promoters seem to know what the deal is as they’ve laid on an absolutely massive weekend between them…Celebrate in style with one or all of these delights.
We Fear Silence at Corsica Studios (Buy Tickets)
Ever since the End closed down, it’s been few and far between for Border Community action. This Friday will hopefully remedy that a little bit as We Fear Silence have James Holden and label friend Avus headlining. No doubt Holden will be ready to skull fuck your brain with his twisted and boundless electronic sounds. › Continue reading
Thursday, February 25th, 2010 | Event Preview | No Comments
So the bulk of the line-up has been announced and it’s looking pretty hot. We already knew The Chems, LCD Soundsystem and Air were on the bill. So who else is on? Well as expected Richie Hawtin is taking his Plastikman world tour to Sonar, we’re very excited about that! The musical genius that is Matthew Herbet will be in attendance too and Sonar firm favourite 2ManyDJs are also returning. Booka Shade will be bringing their live show to the delight of many and from the hip hop side of things Kid Koala is booked. I’ve only seen him once but his show was one of the most creative things I’ve seen in hip hop. Talking of hip hop, on of the originators The Sugar Hill Gang are also set to make an appearance!
One of the themes for this year will be a focus on the multi faceted British music scene which will showcase everything from the large acts like The Chems and Hot Chip though to the underground with the likes of Joy Orbison, Speech Debelle, Sandwell District and Fuck Buttons. No doubt more will be announced in the coming weeks and we’ll be sure to keep you posted.
In the mean time you better buy your tickets now:
UK residents should buy tickets from TICKETWEB
Everyone else in the world buy your tickets from Tickaticket
For the full line up so far visit www.sonar.es
Monday, February 8th, 2010 | Event Preview | No Comments
Initially there were some rumours, then there was a survey and now it is all confirmed. Richie Hawtin is bringing back Plastikman for a live world tour encompassing 18 years of material, advancing technology and all the lessons learnt from the audio visual Contakt. This is going to be pure unadulterated Richie Hawtin in control of all the elements.
The show will debut at this year’s Timewarp in Mannheim followed by a show this April at Coachella festival in California. I’d bet a lot on a showing at Sonar festival, and maybe even Glastonbury? I’d also imagine that all the big cities will be included from London and Berlin to Tokyo and New York.
We’ll keep you posted when the full tour is announced, but for now you can get you Timewarp tickets from TICKETWEB
UPDATE: Plastikman just got added to Bestival taking place this September on the Isle of Wight.
Monday, February 8th, 2010 | Event Preview | No Comments
Another couple of headlining announcements for Sonar 2010… English ghetto boy Dizzee Rascal has been added to the bill, which will surely keep the travelling Brits “Bonkers” happy. If he plays a good proportion of Boy In Da Corner then it will be a worthy addition. Other headliner sees the return of The Chemical Brothers. Massive for me, ever since a kid I’ve always loved the ballsy beats the Chems have knocked out. Their showing at Sonar 2005 was an extraordinary showing whilst their Glastonbury shows have gone down in legend with their tripped out visuals. So that’s now Air, LCD Soundsystem and The Chems. Things are looking peachy.
Earlybird tickets are still available until 15th Feb.
Everyone else in the world buy your tickets from Tickaticket
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 | Event Preview | No Comments
We’re barely out of January but thoughts are already turning to summer festival activities. If you were militantly organised you would have booked your Glasto ticket back in October. Crazy, I know. But the early bird catches the worm and all that. Another early bird special on the go is EarPipe favourite Sonar festival. Situated in and around the city of Barcelona over 3 days and 2 nights, Sonar combines forward thinking music and the multimedia arts to create a diverse and fun filled festival to the backdrop of a beautiful city. Ok the night time events in an exhibition hall on an industrial estate do lack that modernist Gaudi finesse you might expect from Barcelona, but the climate and music definitely make up for that. Also, during the day you’re based in the city so you’re free to explore all over as opposed to being penned in some camp site for the whole weekend. That pretty much sums up the whole weekend for Sonar – you get all the delights of a music festival, yet you have the freedom to explore Barcelona itself, and none of this camping bollocks, just festivals, parties and when you need it, beds, showers and running water. › Continue reading
Tuesday, August 11th, 2009 | Event Preview | No Comments
Now that summer is already drawing to a close its time for the autumn activities to commence; September through till November is often a juicy period on the clubbing calendar. It’s often the time when people are starting new endeavours in new places, be it students, graduates or just plain new job starters. Either way, people are back from their summer escapades, people have relocated and the clubbing community is back to full strength. Prime pickings for big ass stellar events.
One on the not too distant horizon is Richie Hawtin and his band of merry laptop equipped men (and one girl). The M_nus mob return to the capital city to serve up another helping of their multimedia extravaganza show Contakt. It’s been almost a year since they would have last wowed the crowds in London with their multi tag team dj sound and retina burning visual show, so it should be interesting to see how or if the show has evolved. › Continue reading
Thursday, June 18th, 2009 | Event Preview | No Comments
Its just gone midnight on Wednesday night… so no time for an in depth Sonar preview. So here it is in a business like bullet point format:
Catch Konono No1 blast out some congo riddems. Seen videos and the look fun!
If you’re invited hit the Mobilee rooftop pool party at Hotel Diagonal
Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 | Event Reviews | No Comments
Now that I’ve picked up the pieces (Yes its been three weeks..) its time to talk about the bank holiday weekend that recently stomped all over my brain. The first outing was way out at matter, where the French master Laurent Garnier was down to show off his new live show. Unfortunately being a working man meant it was a bit tough getting back and mustering up the energy to head straight back out again, so I didn’t end up getting down to the club till gone midnight and therefore missed the whole live show. Not to worry as I’ll be catching it at Sonar and Worldwide festival this year. But what I did catch was the mighty Francois K who did his usual trick of coming on and obliterating any warm up. It’s not a bad thing because it does often work and that night it picked the night up in the right direction. However I think he might have scared some of the after work drinks crowd with the blistering tunes he was playing.
The crowd itself wasn’t as busy as I thought it was going to be. Usually a Garnier gig is a road block event. Maybe it was, but with matter being so huge it comfortably held everyone with plenty of room to dance. The rest of the club wasn’t used though with room 2 being closed early on or all night and › Continue reading
Friday, January 30th, 2009 | Event Preview, News | No Comments
When I was a wee nipper one of the inspiring things about dance music was seeing Orbital headline the main stage at Glastonbury. It was electrifying to see their electronic sounds and bobbing torch spectacles whip up the thousands of people predominantly into their indie music. It was truly a magical moment. I talk as if I was there, but unfortunately I was only of the age which allowed me to go across the road. I witnessed the occasion by the magic of BBC television. It did however set two goals for me, go to Glastonbury (still unachieved) and see Orbital, preferably in one go. The dream vanished in 2004 when Orbital played their last gig never to return.
Well that’s another year over. Where did the time go? For us it was mostly spent in darkened rooms listening to repetitive electronic music in and around London with the occasional trip to another city or abroad. It probably explains why this look back on 2008 is a hazy one at best. I believe we left most of our brain cells splattered across Fabric’s dancefloor. But we’ve managed to piece together the fractured pieces of memory to come up with this half rate look back at 2008. Enjoy )
One of the main stories of 2008 has to be the shake up of London clubs. 2008 kicked off on a sombre note with the closure of The Cross/Key/Canvas complex in Kings Cross. Apparently Kings Cross needed some regeneration to make it look good for the incoming French on the EuroStar. As a double whammy Turnmills also decided to close their doors at the end of January, due to the lease holders deciding their central London location would make much more money as flats and offices rather than from weekends of debauchery. They’re right, but even though Turnmills had pretty much run its course pushing a dying Trance night and a load of “electro house” nights with asymmetrical haircuts it was still a shock losing two stalwarts of the scene.
Sunday, September 7th, 2008 | Event Reviews, Events | No Comments
As we head into the dark and gloomy winter months we should really conclude what actually happened on the last two days of EarPipe’s Sonar weekend. In previous parts we told you about our escapades at La Terrazza with the Soma boys, our thirst for mojitos, the booty shakin breaks of Diplo and the mind warping sounds of Contakt. In our third and final instalment, we’ll be covering our haggered limp across the finish line from Saturday to Monday.
To kick Saturday off earPipe caught the Dirty presents showcase at the Sonar Dome. Until that day we had never heard of Dirty and their collection of French DJs and producers. Some digging about and it turns out these guys run a not for profit website hailing from Paris called d-i-r-t-y.com, where they release edits and compilations as well as run a bi monthly party. Their sound is a real mixed bag of stuff. Pilooski on his own was dropping all kinds of down tempo beats from soul classics edited in the Dirty way right through to upbeat disco and electro. He then followed his own set with Pentile on his joint live project called Discodeine. Together they combined the brash, rawness of electro with the funk of disco, but it’s not in your face jump around electro like their fellow country men Justice make; it’s more calculated, restrained and twisted.
To finish the Dirty showcase, Pilooski took to the stage once again as part of the Dirty Sound System where the whole team just ripped the SonarDome to pieces. Playing a French blend of their trademark electro sound they had the marquee bopping about like lunatics. Definitely people to catch again in the future.
Back over in the Sonar Village, The Field, a one man production extravaganza was creating his epic soundscapes for sun lavished crowds. His productions are in one word beautiful, it is the way that they twist and turn in a pleasurable but not overpowering wall of sound. It is kind of minimal, but not through the ethos of removing elements more so minimal in the way his music progresses. The soaring sounds fit snugly for the late afternoon slot just as those mojitos were beginning to hit home once again.
EarPipe’s final stop off for the day was purely for comedy value. Inside at the SonarComplex DJ Scotch Egg had been mounting his Osaka Invasion all afternoon. If you haven’t heard of Scotch Egg, he is basically a mental Japanese fella who bangs out hardcore gabba music with an 8 bit computer game take on things, though a combination of gameboys, megaphones, distortion and a bit of crowd participation by throwing scotch eggs at them. Is Mr Egg avant garde? Probably not. It is however completely nuts music and really can’t be taken seriously by anyone on this planet. Its shear insanity and the fact that it could give you a brain haemorrhage, nose bleed, as well as make your ears bleed and induce an epileptic fit kind of makes it so entertaining and a little intriguing. If you don’t believe me watch these videos. Scotch Egg 1. Scotch Egg 2.
For the final visit to Sonar by Night, EarPipe manages to catch the last half of Soulwax on their Weekend Never Dies tour. We always enjoy the energy they create as they relentlessly plough through their songs, rarely stopping for breath. It’s a whirlwind show and their drummer must be one of the hardest working out there. Interesting takes on Daft Punk’s Robot Rock as well as their classics NY Lips and E-Talking. These guys have played Sonar for the last few years and they have always put on a great show.
Next up for EarPipe was Dubfire out in the SonarLab. The Deep Disher was flying solo in his new “back to my roots” techno persona. We did enjoy his set of techno beats, but we did feel a bit sterile afterwards. There were some great tunes in there, but on the whole the set just didn’t seem very imaginative. It was an onslaught of typical techno tunes which were fun but not really that memorable. If Dubfire wants to shake of the shackles of Deep Dish then he’s going to have to try harder. However it was great when he dropped his recent remix of Radioslave’s Grindhouse Tool.
Sonar’s grand finale came down to the legendary Ricardo Villalobos. Over the past year the guy has been brilliant, so what better a setting than the outside SonarPub with the sun rising in the early morning sky and a few thousand revellers ready to go completely mad. Ricardo’s set was nothing short of breathtaking. Probably being on the right side of inebriated, his mixing was tight and tune selection playful. Effortlessly cherry picking South American influenced percussive house and techno through to the down right heavy balls to the wall stuff. The cheekiness and range which he can play is something that many DJs envy. Evidence of this was when he dropped Sis’ Trompeta, which is basically this year’s Heater. But despite it being a corny track, its silly sample was perfectly apt to end a weekend of debauchery and serious electronic music, and like last year at Exit when Heater dropped, it erupted in various gypsy-esque dances. Keeping command of his crowd to the very end he rounds of preceedings with house classic Lil’ Louis’ French Kiss. Perfect.
And so ends another year at Sonar. Three days and two nights of great music, great atmosphere and plenty of mojitos. However it doesn’t stop there. On the Sunday Secretsundaze happened to be keeping the party spirit alive by doing their Sunday shenanigans at La Terrazza. It was an ideal club which completely encompasses what Secretsundaze is all about and what it should be ideally in the UK, open air with plenty of sunshine, a great crowd and the highest order of house you can imagine. For their Barcelona party Johnny D, 2000 and One and Mountain People all played exceptional sets, keeping my frail legs moving to the very end. I could give you details, but they’re a bit thin on the ground. But I do know we had a great time and it was a brilliant way to finish off the weekend and seal my fate for a fragile journey home. So until next year, Adios Barcelona!
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008 | Event Reviews | 1 Comment
In the first part of EarPipe’s Sonar review we left you at the Soma La Terrazza party with a club full of glamorous people and decadent house music. Fast forward to Friday afternoon and that chic taste of vodka limon in an open air club has been replaced by a sweltering room, a furry mouth and an undying thirst for water. Being only the second day you can’t really whimper at the fact that we’re still in Barcelona, the day is glorious and one of the world’s greatest music festivals is taking place. Why feel hungover and sorry for yourself in some hot box hostel room when you can do the same outside on the fake grass of the Sonar Village whilst sipping that all important sixth mojito.
After a relatively slow crawl to the CCCB, EarPipe pitch up under a tree and relax to the various obscure bands. The first of these being a couple of natives called El Guincho who were described in the guide as a combination of funk, afro beat and African rhythms making them sound quite intriguing on paper. However I was totally confused when they opened with this. Its intro sounded a lot like the Ronette’s Be My Baby and was far from the funk and afro beats that were expected. A few more tracks in and the band edged into the African vibes and got a fair proportion of the Sonar Village on their feet. Quite an achievement considering many of the revellers tend to be struggling from the night before.
El Guincho was to be followed by EarPipe’s highlight of the day Quiet Village. Their ambient/psychedelic down tempo album Silent Movie has been receiving critical acclaim from all over and their recent RA Podcast was one of the most refreshing in recent times. But what’s most interesting is that one half of Quiet Village comes from the dark and pounding depths of Matt Edwards aka Radioslave. Much like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Matt has two guises where Quiet Village is definitely the Dr Jekyll persona. They open their Sonar set with the incredibly beautiful Victoria’s Secret, a long and winding scenic track laden with strings and clichéd wave crashes and cooing birds. They continue through their album dropping the great vintage 70s funk sounds of tracks like Can’t Be Beat and Pillow Talk. Ideal for a chilled sunny afternoon. As you can see by this video it was totally a sit down affair.
Kalabrese had the job of following Quiet Village. He made use of the opportunity to present his Rumpelorchestra from Switzerland. Together as a small three piece band they infused influences from jazz, afro-beat, funk and house. The energy from their performance got the crowd back on their feet. One thing that makes the Rumpelorchestra stand out from other outfits is their use of brass instruments which really brings in that classic jazz feel. Seems like a bit of a brass revival with Ronson and the mainstream getting involved.
For the evening, a trip to the Raum open air party was supposed to happen, but unfortunately it hadn’t started early enough to make it worth the trip. So instead EarPipe watched the surprise defeat of Croatia to Turkey before heading to Sonar by Night. On arrival to the vast venue we were greeted by the two tone sounds of Suggs and Madness. Their blend of pop and ska had the crowd singing along to all their greatest hits like One Step Beyond, Our House and It Must Be Love. Even the younger fans would have been able to join in what with Suggs doing all those fish finger commercials. A quick run over to the Sonar Park and we catch the finishing moments of BC vs JC feat. Darren Emerson. JC is infact Jamie Cullum the floppy haired jazz come easy listening artist that your parents and even your grandparents like. BC is Jamie’s brother Ben on guitar, talk about nepotism. And they’re all backed up by former Underworld brains Darren Emerson. Together they jam out a sort of soulful jazz influenced house come techno sound. Once we start looking past our music snobbery we actually find their performance quite pleasurable and to be fair BC vs JC feat Darren Emerson is a good way of introducing electronic dance music to the kids in a more palatable format, so props for that. However we are still getting over Jamie Cullum bopping his floppy haired head to electronic beats.
Meanwhile in the SonarClub, Diplo our man from Philly is entertaining the crowds with his ghetto tech and Baltimore breaks. There are no rules for this man; he plays whatever whenever so long as its got booty shakin bass riddem and tings, its just fun, unadulterated music which you can just bounce around to. He cuts and mixes everything from hip hop, techno and electro in that mashup raw way that’s currently popular. In the space of an hour I was hearing MIA edits, hip hop classics from Dead Prez, big electro numbers from Justice and even a splash of Plastikman Spastik. Diplo just delivers a whirlwind of music in such an effective manner. It’s not the sort of music we’re into down at EarPipe but it is much fun. And seeing some of the most die hard EDM fans just getting right into it is just proof of that.
Now on to the main event. The performance that was eagerly anticipated by a 10,000 strong crowd outside in the SonarPub was of course Richie Hawtin and his band of merry techno laptop technicians with a cube in tow. It was the Barcelona leg of their Contakt tour where the concept was built around a collective DJ performance creating one set rather than individual ones. Unfortunately the cube was no where to be seen, the reports from other gigs were saying that its lights changed colour but we were unable to give the official EarPipe word on that. Their introduction was very prog rock-esque. A mystical silence fell on the SonarPub before the black curtain was drawn back to reveal quite an impressive LED stage as an eerie soundscape comes in over the speaker. Like an epic prog rock entrance, Richie Hawtin rises from behind the laptops to rapturous applause. He continues to tweak the eerie soundscape whilst slowly bringing on each of the Contakt family one by one. As they do, their names are emblazoned in giant letters on the LED screen. It’s all very Spinal Tap, they probably had the system turned up to 11.
Over the course of the next six hours the Contakt group go through various combinations of DJs. Troy Pierce starts with Gaiser who are then later joined by Heartthrob and Magda. Hawtin comes on and replaces Troy for a bit and plays solo for a while. Marc Houle comes on later on and there is just steady rotation. The overall sound of the set is basically Minus, tripped out techno sounds with abstract noises with a relentless and hypnotic groove. At points there were up to three or four DJs chipping into the combined set. But in all honesty I’m not really sure what they were doing, what they were chipping in or having any effect at all? To us it just sounded like a normal set, with different DJs coming and going. The entire performance seemed like an elaborate back to back session. It was no different to your normal Minus night. Marks for trying to come out with something different and unique but I feel it didn’t push the boundaries obviously enough. Its neither here or there between intricate DJ set or rehearsed live performance.
Despite my grumblings of an elaborate back to back set the whole six hours definitely kept EarPipe entertained. Hawtin did all the usual stuff including those filter out buzzy drops and dropping classics like Yekke Yekke. Gaiser ran through some of the twisted horse music off his new album to great effect. Troy Pierce, Marc Houle and Magda all chipped in to create an amalgamation of sound which saw a crowd stay strong well into Saturday morning as the sun rose. They even finished everyone off with a little blast of Techno Vocals before bringing the curtain down on it all, quite literally. We must also add that the visuals were pretty stunning for the whole event. The way they were worked in across all the LED screens to create one big canvas was quite amazing, and the actual visualisations went hand in hand with the music. Whoever did that I salute you sir.
So to sum up Contakt is an elaborate back to back that doesn’t add anything new. The music is still pretty good to party to and its not really any different from your normal Minus party.
Part 3 coming soon )
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