Sónar Reykjavík

The Straumur Guide to Sónaruary

Words by and
Photos by Lisa Wassmann
 
The Straumur Guide to Sónaruary
 

Once the darkest and dullest month on the Icelandic calendar for music and culture (and other things that make life moderately worth living), February was forever transformed in 2013 with the arrival of Sónar Reykjavík, that annual shining beacon of modern sonic delight. The festival has grown into a three-day extravaganza of sound, vision and excellence since its début, with cutting edge performers turning the Harpa music hall into a gigantic nightclub that is at once refined and debauched. The list of exciting artists performing at Sónar Reykjavík 2016 far exceeds the meagre wordcount we are allotted, so we instead decided to recommend a few choice artists that might fly under some people’s radar. In all its glory, and no particular order, we present: The Definitive Straumur Guide To Sónar Reykjavík 2015 Artists That You Might Not Be Aware Of But Should Definitely Try To Catch Regardless!

Oneohtrix Point Never

The alias of the US-born Daniel Lopatin, Oneohtrix Point Never’s experimental compositions constantly border on the sublime. Small wonder, then, that the project was picked up in 2013 by the prestigious Warp label, home to Aphex Twin, Autechre and other verified IDM legends. His Warp debut, ‘R Plus Seven’, is one of those records whose beauty transcends genres, transforming your headphones into a wormhole to dimensions far more enjoyable than ours.

Ellen Allien

Hailing from Germany, Ellen Allien is a well-regarded name in electronic music, known for her work as a DJ, label manager and producer. She will close down Sónar Thursday with a DJ set that’s sure to electrify.

Angel Haze

This veritable force of hip-hop burst onto the scene in 2012 with her ode to NYC, “New York,” and has been steadily gaining ground ever since. Proudly identifying as agender and pan-sexual, Haze flows like the Amazon river and has an abundance of impressive music to her name. From her performance at Sónar, we expect nothing less than barrels of swagger and microphone murders.

Holly Herndon

The American composer and experimental artist Holly Herndon uses her music to study how modern technologies influence people. Participation is an important part of her live show. Don’t miss it!

Hudson Mohawke

Producer wunderkind Hudson Mohawke has actually visited these shores before, giving a thrilling set at Iceland Airwaves 2009, shortly before his career blew up. Since then, he’s produced a steady stream of bangers for folks like Kanye West, TNGHT, and under his own name—it really seems like he can do no wrong. Hudson’s sound is maximalist to the extreme, and the things he can do with a brass section are not of this world. By all means, attend his set at Sónar—just keep in mind that once it’s over, you’ll be left with a sweat-soaked t-shirt and minor neck injuries (don’t worry, it’s worth it).

Floating Points

Electronic producer/DJ Sam Shepherd (aka Floating Points) started producing music in 2009. Since then, he’s since slowly perfected his signature sound—a nifty combination of deep house, hip-hop, soul and jazz. His excellent debut, ‘Elaenia’, was released last November and is sure to feature prominently on Floating Points’s Sónar setlist—we can’t help but look forward dancing to live renditions of all of its best songs.

Posted February 18, 2016