Festival Frolics: First Impressions of a Technophobe, Sónar 2012.

I’m not really an electronic music fan; I don’t listen to that much minimal techno and the lure of a festival dedicated solely to these genres is hardly enormous. Nonetheless I found myself wandering back down La Rambla at 7 por la mañana, avoiding amorous advances from voluptuous mamacitas, trundling home from Sónar. You may ask yourself how this came to be. Well, I have some thoroughly persuasive amigos and the prospect of a holiday (that and an extensive dent on my student loan) was too difficult to turn down...
The day stuff didn’t really whet my appetite. Flying Lotus was boring and the rest of the stuff I cant really remember other than that one of the singers in some band or other looked a bit like a cross between Klaus Kinski in Aguirre and a really ugly girl. So off we trudged into the 'Noche among cavernous confines near L'Hospitalet. So far, so IDM. I was surprised how much I enjoyed Coyu but that newfound enthusiasm was soon dampened by Richie Hawtin. I didn’t know you could forge a career playing the same song every night for 2 hours solid but evidently you can so, to you Richie Hawtin, I doff my cap. Fatboy Slim – the pervading thought I thunk during Fatboy Slim was "you are closer to my dad's age than you are to mine." Clearly this inescapable phenomenon aka ageing didn't spoil Mr. Cook’s enjoyment of the moment as he was ''avin it' and ''avin it large'. I was excited when I thought I might hear an ACTUAL SONG (Praise You) but nonetheless deceived when things turned into a mindless Club 18-30-load of relentless beat. We left that to go to the opposite end of the musical spectrum to observe Squarepusher. The immediate thing I thought of with Squarepusher was The Matrix. In particular that scene in which we're shown how the world really seems without any of the nice façade to keep us in check; were there a soundtrack to this apocalyptic nothingness – or at least one more convincing than that provided by Rob Zombie, Deftones, Rammstein et al. – then it would come from Tom Jenkinson. That’s how it sounded to me. That, and something akin to two robots having extremely unemotional intercourse. That said, this is probably more or less what he’s aiming for so props to you Squarepusher: your music disgusted me. My addled state of mind still didn’t not notice the fact that the already dwindling crowd were hardly rooting for the robot-cum-baby character leading all of this I might hasten to add.
New Order were cack. Bernard Sumner has lost it (it primarily being the ability to sing, and secondarily his hair) and what we were left with was a halfhearted hour of karaoke in an airport hangar. Metronomy were up to their usual tricks, providing some light relief from the rave. I then experienced an almost transcendental moment during I Feel Better; near enough to make me forget that I was standing in a warehouse carpark at 3 in the morning in a trading estate. Thus Hot Chip may be deemed by far the best thing I saw and I enjoyed seeing how Alexis Taylor (he's a cutie fyi) was veritably dwarfed by his guitar. We called it a night after this, deciding to cut our losses and leave on a high [#INSERTHUMOUR-SIGNALLINGDRUMROLLHERE]. Sónar and Barcelona, muchas gracias for a hedonistic few days but needless to say I will not be rushing back. Hasta la vista, baby.

Ed Livingstone.

Dots & Dashes' full coverage of Sónar 2012 is up in here.