4th Sónar Festival in Reykjavik was a successful event with no doubt. Almost 80 shows during the 3 days in the heart of the city and terrific Harpa – made history again. Organisers of the icelandic Sónar provided as much music variety as they could, successfully mixing icelandic & nordic stage with other, international artists. This mixture could satisfy everyone. Even the most fussy and demanding attendees of the festival. Well done!

PallOskar_SonarClub_SonarReykjavik2016_FlorianTrykowski-16T44813 days of live music were also accompanied by other free events scheduled in Sónard +D program. Roundtable meetings including “Women in Music” with participation of international artists, as well as talks with producers, composers, promoters and social media’ specialists – made the conference program interesting for anyone keen on exploring either the music industry or world of the modern technologies and tools used by promoters, musicians and organisers. Sónar Reykjavik simply lived up to expectations of the attendees, eager to get involved into something beyond than a music shows only. It’s a milestone for the Sónar festival and it’s fans – entertainment, music, networking, a priceless knowledge & experience from specialists provided in one place.

Live music is still the most important part of the festival. My main expectations were focused on Thursday and Friday’s shows. Almost every show I attended was surprisingly good or terrific at the end of a day. Unfortunately, as during other European festivals – the last day of the Sónar in Reykjavik was the weakest link of the whole event. Even though, the general impression is more than good.

From over the 16 shows I saw this year, I decided to pick 5 best. If they were the best of all – hard to say.

1. Vök

This is definitely one of the best icelandic young bands with a quite big international touring experience so far. Their albums, live shows and general overlook is fabulous. During the Sónar Reykjavik, Vök introduced a new song “Waiting” which was for a couple of weeks well promoted on facebook using a various pictures taken in Iceland. Their high-level show made me absolutely satisfied, while it was just the very beginning of the festival…

2. Kiasmos

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Who doesn’t know Olafur Arnalds? Who didin’t look forward to this show? Definitely one of the most awaited performance of the Sónar Reykjavik. Minimal & experimental techno duo made their performance remarkable by using stunning, yet simple and sophisticated visualizations in the back. Although, no trumpery was visible and hearable – Janus Rasmussen with Olafur Arnalds showed everyone that techno definietely could be a balm to anyone’s heart. Fortunately, they both decided to make their dreams about creating music to dance „by hands” as well.

3. Reykjavíkurdætur & Angel Haze

I had no expectations to Reykjavíkurdætur performance, as well as to Angel Haze show. Fortunately, both projects were tremendous! Fifteen, youngsters dressed in white on the stage dancing and rapping in Sonar Club represented new, fresh blood from the local stage. Reykjavíkurdætur were terrific. Fully energetic show was the best support to Angel Haze performance shortly after. The American rapper with her brother definitely made a noise that evening, and got everyone involved in jumping, clapping and making noise at the end of a day. No diggity – having Angel Haze at Sónar Reykjavik was a great success.

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4. President Bongo & The Emotional Carpenters

This show, just like the Floating Points performance highly enriched the festival. President Bongo accompanied by The Emotional Carpenters band provided a wide and deep emotional music journey. Several times, I’ve been successfully submerged into music only – listening and moving gently. Great music artists on the stage, without any bewildering visualization proved that music itself ought to lead the way.

5. Floating Points

I’ve been astonishingly lucky (but also quite knackered this evening), I decided to come to this British band show. Their floating point hanged above the stage and absolutely engrossing tunes – made me feel fully hypnotized. Floating Points is definitely a band, which every fan of post-rock, instrumental and jazzy tunes must see at least once in his lifetime.

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Apart from the ones mentioned above, also remarkable were acts by Halleuwah, Ellen Alien, Hudson Mohawake and Pall Oskar. Regrettably, Annie Mac, Holly Herndon or Ulfur Ulfur were very disappointing. Maybe by on other occasions their shows will be more exciting. Otherwise – we can always follow up on their recordings which are definitely worth to know and follow.

//Dorota Kosela

See you next year, Sónar Reykjavik! Vel gert!