Focus

Sònar Festival

With two online editors based in Barcelona, it’s hard to ignore Sònar’s nearing take-off this June. Even though the festival has been having a pretty interesting day programme for a couple of years now, it’s still the night and the music the Barcelonians live for. Overwhelmed by the immense range of talented artists playing this year, we’ll guide you through the ones Subbacultcha aficionados will most definitely enjoy.

By Anna Baqués and Valerie Steenhaut

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Princess Nokia

Queen of the Bronx, Destiny Frasqueri went for the full rapper package, which means dressing up in track pants and ponytails, smoking dope backstage and using slang as she sings about her childhood memories of growing up in New York.

Arca & Jesse Kanda

The artwork by Jesse Kanda for “Vanity”  was considered shocking enough to make Instagram temporarily delete Arca’s account, up until the beautiful power of activism on social media restored the natural order of the world. Their collaboration for his last two videos have left us completely stoked and take him to much elevated creative sphere.

Elysia Crampton

In the midst of huayños and R&B, cumbia and crunk, the landscape of Elysia Crampton’s music is a mountainous one. Its sheer rolling mass tells numerous tales, from collages of already storied samples to her own South and Central American and indigenous history. At the same time, oscillating between rocky, unstable points of reference her music is equally mountainous in its formation, as of shifting plates highlighting the temporal nature of our selves.

Forest Swords

In recent years Tri-Angle Records has helped cultivate a crop of hermetic young producers sprouting up around the world who specialize in grafting elements of hip hop and R&B into barren electronic soundscapes. Dagger Paths, Forest Swords’ haunting 2010 debut EP, was among the label’s most rewarding and acclaimed early releases, but in spite of the EP’s success, its creator, a producer from the UK countryside by the name of Matthew Barnes, remained in obscurity as he battled tinnitus and focused on his day job as a graphic designer. For Engravings, his full length debut, he finally emerged from his dormancy with a more refined take on the murky melancholy of his early work. Three years later he has finished recording his third album and we can’t wait for his mysterious performance to happen.

 

Tommy Cash

Picture Aphex Twin, but with acid and Cornwall exchanged for hip hop and Estonia. Then throw in a little Ninja from Die Antwoord, turn the BPM down to a slo-mo crawl and you might be somewhere near the slimy intrigue of Tommy Cash. Straight outta Tallinn, this dancer, painter and fashionista-turned-rapper is taking the Internet by storm with his bizarro music videos, Baltic swag and penchant for horse-riding. His 2014 full-length Euroz Dollaz Yenniz saw Cash drawling rhymes about coital socks, smoking trees and, of course, $$$.