Music history was made this weekend with the first edition of Sonar Reykjavik going out large and live from the city’s luxurious Harpa concert hall. Like most first dates I sensed a little nervous radiation in the atmosphere on Friday night, but by Saturday the air was positively charged and fully electric as people danced in the light fantastic and shared their passion for the big audio dynamite, which was exploding with sonic force from four of Harpa’s multiple music venues.
We spent the weekend getting completely lost in the music of countless electro-wizards and crowds of third, second and even first-generation ravers, whilst dashing between the venues trying to check out as much music as possible. It still amazes me to think of how many sub-genres of electronic dance music have evolved over the past 30 years or so – it’s almost impossible to keep up with it all!
There were so many memorable performances; however, I think one of my favourites was Modeselektor - a german duo who really impressed me as they pushed the audio barriers to new levels of glitchy-techno, punctuated with intelligent rhythms and occasional bursts of crystal-cut silence.
Apart from being introduced to some incredible new music from the likes of Squarepusher, Gluteus Maximus, Sísý Ey, I was delighted to see some of my favourite Icelandic bands, such as Bloodgroup, Human Woman and GusGus. Speaking of talent though, I couldn’t help but lament the fact that the brilliant Tonik weren’t performing – they would have been a perfect addition to the outstanding line-up.
As an evocative tribute to the original raves dating back to the late eighties/early nineties, Harpa’s car park was transformed temporarily into an underground rave venue. Despite the fact that it was completely legal (unlike the warehouse raves back in the day), this five-hour flashback was still enough to get even those first-generation ravers all misty-eyed and sentimental. Me included
To be honest I really didn’t know what sort of energy levels to expect at the festival, but judging by the sparks that flew between Reykjavik and Sonar this weekend, I think we may have just discovered a perfect new musical match made in electro-heaven! I say let it strike again!