by / June 16th, 2011 /

Top Story: Sonar 2011 – Festival preview

The list of illustrious electronic musicians performing at this years Sonar in Barcelona is long and distinguished. On the eminent side of the inventory lies artists like Aphex Twin, Underworld, M.I.A., Dizzee Rascal, and The Human League. While these renowned fellows are worthy of consideration, State feels that there’s plenty of hidden gems among this year’s line-up that deserve a mention. Here’s some of the more impressive ones:


Dealing out left-field beats with impeccable timing, this L.A. based producer is quickly becoming a superior artist. After being signed to Flying Lotus’s label, Brainfeeder, he immediately sent ripples with his debut release titled Ardour. With mind blowing visuals and deep bass rumbles playing an integral part in his live show, this should be tasty little glitch-hop treat.

Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble

This combination of two pioneering techno producers (Brandt & Brauer), a classical composer (Frick), and a select crew of talented musicians is something of a spectacle. Performing with a plethora of instruments, – piano, vibraphone, rhodes, drum kits, and synhtesisers, to name but a few – this ensemble delivers there own brand of ‘acoustic techno’ that could easily upstage the likes of Laurent Garnier and his orchestra. Read State’s review with the band.


This young artist will flood your insides with innocent bleeps of IDM and fascinating melodies. All of his songs have a real childish feel to them, as if he desperately wants to live inside a video-game. Barcelona is also his hometown so it’s bound to be an enthusiastic show.

ragul-tereta la petita extraterrestre by ragul


Pronounced “oh” in case you’re confused. Christopher Dexter Greenspan’s music is often described as chillwave or witch-house, but seeing as these aren’t actually real words we’d best say he plays a lot of airy downtempo tunes with reams of effects. When on stage he tends to opt for a mix of DJing and live performing, playing his own tracks the whole time. This one’s tough to call. It could be unbelievable, but it could also just be huge puff of air. Either way it’s intriguing.
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Open Real Ensemble

Take five Japanese musicians and put them in a room with reels of old magnetic tape that are hooked up to computers, and what have you got? Entertainment. Possibly the most entertaining thing since someone threw a hat on a monkey and forced them to ride around in a little car. Watching these guys manipulate magnetic tape with genuine skill is a sight to be seen.

Beat ‘A’ Boom

Composed of Cazique Collective members Marc Ayza and DJ Helios, and some very talented instrumentalists, this group delivers a fresh sounding blend of jazz and hip hop. With every jazzy note accompanied by some tight drum work and an even tighter MC, this live show should delight music lovers of numerous backgrounds.


One of the few genuinely impressive techno DJs at this year’s Sonar. Parisian Erwan Castex’s tracks are packed full of subtle little delights and nuances. His style is not strictly minimal techno, there’s elements of everything at work here. It’s experimental techno, but with a slickness that is wholly unique.

Rone – Flesh by Rone

The Gaslamp Killer

Unpredictable but incredibly innovative. This guy has no qualms about genre hopping. He’s been known to waltz between the darkest corners of hip hop and outlandish psychedelic rock with the minimum of fuss. Hailing from California, he’s also one of the Brainfeeder minions. His set will be one to watch out for, or stay away from, depending on how timid you’re feeling.