Nguzunguzu, Dj Harvey and Cornelius

Read on for some of Clash's highlights from the Sonar 2012 event held in Barcelona from 14th - 16th June 2012.


Globally-minded production duo made up of Red Bull Music Academy alumni Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda run the bass things back home in LA, working closely with kindred spirit Kingdom and his Fade to Mind label as well as their UK sister label, Night Slugs. In their infamous DJ sets they work a motley crew of club music, filling in the gaps with everything from Chicago juke and classic house, to UK bass wares, hip hop, R&B, ballroom and reggaeton. Production wise, their sound loads up heavy on the atmosphere with alien futurism coming in the form of thick bass, borderline crunk and otherworldly experimentalism. They tick off the final point on the list with a fine knack for the remix also, a case in point being their epic reworking of Fatima Al Qadiri’s Ayshay project. Look out for their soon-to-come full length debut out on Hippos in Tanks.

Cornelius presents Salyu x Salyu

Japanese recording artist, Cornelius, aka Keigo Oyamada, is known for portraying a tug-of-war between the gratifying elements of harmony, and the not so gratifying elements of dissonance, in his music. Taking this experimental edge one step further is his latest collaboration with J-pop’s charismatic songstress Salyu. Their musical alliance hears them co-producing their first single, ‘(s)ound(b)eams’, as well as taking their exploratory sound to the stage, where they are joined by Buffalo Daughter’s Yumiko Ohno on bass, as well as an ensemble of female vocalists, repositioning their voices as instruments and consorting alongside one another with delightfully imaginative vocal harmonizing and otherworldly staccato symphonics. Cornelius takes care of providing an electronic, bass-driven background, buoyed on with found sounds and sampling. The result is a subliminal musical odyssey that from looking around the crowd at Sonar can fully induce the most emotional of responses.

DJ Harvey

DJ Harvey and his Sarcastic Disco are a force to behold, an eternal source of youth and hedonistic urge, he is first and foremost responsible for bringing a sense of self-gratifying wild abandon back to dance music. Aside from that, we can lay the arrival of blissed-out Balearic sounds and disco decadence to the UK, at his door. He spent his formative years bringing the rave to small town England, and subsequently tearing things up State-side with his own LA-based parties, rapturously received Black Cock re-edits, his Map of Africa project and his most recent Locussolus alias. Although not quite the eight hour set he has become notorious for in his new found Californian home, his Sonar set was a case in point of a DJ with his own self-inflicted need-to-please. A true sonic journey taking in the highs of the most luxuriant disco-boogie and the moody lows of the most caustic techno.

Words by Laura Humphries

Diamond Version + Atsuhiro Ito

With pounding industrial electronic music that sounds more like Gescom in Dusseldorf and a light show that is like Obi Wan Kenobi jamming with the Chicago Underground Trio – Diamond Version and Atsuhiro Ito is as fascinating as it is intended for the bold of heart. Bender and Nicolai deploy kinetic, pulverised drum loops that slip in and out of breakbeat, eroded vocal samples flit in and out of their sound field and harsh industrial tones sear across our ears drums. Hurl in on top Atsuhiro Ito’s improvisation with a strip-light feeding back distortion and we have a scene that’s distinctly mad Maxian, or more simply perhaps a futuristic vision of a blacksmith working in the year 2302. Jazz industrial is back it seems, and where else than on Mute records. Get dark with with these boys, and make sure its loud.

Om Unit

Despite sounding on paper like a yogic relaxation device for lazy people, Jim Coles has been pushing out his dance chakras for a couple of stern years now meaning his sound has evolved into a slicker and deeper pasture for bass culture to thrive in. Releasing on Fabric, All City, Terrorhythm, Stretched and Civil Music, Om Unit has left himself much room to move. His set at Sonar in 2012 took a holistic view on bass with half step sonics that sounded revitalised, weird crunk, fast and frenetic footwork styled pummels as well as a cheeky opener by Afrika Bambaataa with ‘Planet Rock’. If you want an idea of how he mingles the digital and the analogue, of the weaving of real world and synthetic then look no further than the looming ‘Aeolian EP’ on Civil Music, a sludgy stepper that is silky with sexed up vocals and grooves towards a long deep bass oscillation that doesn’t get much bigger. His future is assured.

Words by Matthew Bennett

Visit our Sonar 2012 hub page for more coverage of the event.

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