We joined Red Bull in the search for an aspiring photographer and writer to attend the Taste of Sónar event which was part of Red Bull Music Academy this year.
Check out the exclusive report.
Exclusive photos and report from A Taste of Sónar!
Red Bull Reporter is a nationwide search to find the best young music and culture, and sports writers, filmmakers, photographers and presenters, giving them the chance of a lifetime: to use their skills and indulge their passions as a Red Bull Reporter.
Since its inception in 1998, the Red Bull Music Academy has built an unparalleled reputation for unearthing those studio wizards who shape our musical future. Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke, J-Wow of Buraka Som Sistema, Aloe Blacc and Mr Hudson have all been students at the Red Bull Music Academy at some stage of their remarkable careers. Check out the video below to find out more about the Red Bull Music Academy.
That’s why, for the very first time in its longstanding partnership with the Barcelona-based festival, the Academy was commissioned to curate the emerging talent stage at Sónar’s taster event in London on Fri 5th and Sat 6th March. The weekend was headlined by the enigmatic North American MC / producer DOOM, and French techno music producer / DJ Laurent Garnier.
We’ve tied up with Red Bull Reporter to bring you the exclusive photographs from Ivelin Metodiev and the written report by Clodagh Dunne, the chosen Red Bull Reporters to attend the event!
If you fancy becoming a Red Bull Reporter there are plenty of new sports, music and culture related upcoming assignments all over the world you could be going to – just head to www.redbullreporter.com to sign up and start submitting!
Click here to check out the Red Bull Reporter photos from A Taste of Sonar.
A Taste of Sonar by Clodagh Dunne
Outside The Roundhouse people are milling about on the Camden streets. The air is crisp and people group together closely, their speech loud and excited, breath coming out of their mouths like smoke. Touts linger around suspiciously, aware of the eagerly awaited event that’s taking place inside, hoping to make a few bob. Bodies stroll in and out of the large venue, impatient for their night to begin. A Taste of Sonar has come to London again, showcasing an incredible collection of artists and musicians set to play at the annual summer festival in Barcelona and A Coruna. Held over two nights, the London based event will showcase exclusive and surprise artists, unique to the festival and, in some cases, London itself. The annual event is unique, displaying not only musicians and DJs but visual artists (this was the part that had me most excited). I was on a mission to report the event’s first night, the Friday, and I had no idea what was in store for me. Then again, that’s the point.
The eclectic nature of the music on offer clearly reflected in the variety of the crowd. Inside The Roundhouse I was greeted by boys in trucker caps and baggy jeans, girls in quilted jackets and brightly coloured scarves tide round their perfectly formed heads. Some wore tracksuits, others body con dresses. Next to each of these young and oh so cool music lovers stood those slightly more middle aged. Older men in glasses and women in loafers and corduroy trousers (later on in the night a friend pointed out a woman to me saying “I thought that woman was actually my mum!”) stood next to them. One man even had a newspaper tucked under his arm. Pipes were no-where to be seen however. As people drank they played games of bar-footie, the occasional whoop of “Yes” and “Get In” echoing throughout the venue’s large, hollow interior. It almost felt as though my student union had gone chic, as people glugged on large glasses of beer, smoked cigarettes outside and simply had fun with their mates.
The main studio upstairs was preparing itself for something big. Deep violet lights sharply cut through the darkness of the large room, forming big circles on the floor soon to be trampled on by shuffling feet. Short videos of ghosts riding horses were played on the screen as Lex DJ’s, Buddy Peace, sent shock waves through the speakers. Downstairs in the Studio Lounge, white screens hung quietly and nakedly on the walls, waiting to be projected onto. Blue light bathed the people on the tiny stage, who were sound checking before the artists appeared.
As music began to blare out of the Studio Lounge I made my up to the main studio to watch Ryoichi Kurokawa’s ‘Rheo’, an audiovisual installation like nothing I’ve seen before. Kurokawa, whose work has been displayed in the Tate Modern, as well as many other places, challenges the viewer’s perception of reality by creating a contrast of the virtual and the actual. This is clear to see in ‘Rheo’. In an almost literal interpretation of white noise, delicate white strips throb up and down to infrequent base lines, like giant clumps of plasma which eventually become groaning waves and swaying trees. Think Kenneth Anger meets National Geographic. It’s delivered to us in a large triptych, with each of the three screens showing a different scene. The whole crowd was in a trance, staring up at the installation open mouthed and peaceful. The constant drone of the music pumped through everyone’s veins, the boundaries of what they were watching blurred. It was a complete contrast to what was coming next, but that’s the beauty of Sonar; everything’s different and unexpected. Enter Doom.
Would he show? And if he did show, would it even be him? These were the questions circulating the Roundhouse as the loyal disciples of underground hip hop waited for their messiah to appear. Doom, formally known as MF (metal face) Doom is an American hip hop artist, raised in New York, born in London, who was about to perform in the UK for the first time in ten years. After taking a hiatus from the mainstream rap scene in the 90’s, his albums became bootlegged, causing his rise to fame in the underground world of hip hop. Everyone in the Roundhouse knew all of this, of course, which explained the intensity in their anticipation. With the rapper an hour late, I found myself in the centre of crowd, my body crushed and my ears ringing from “We want Doom” and “Bring on Doom” being shouted in my ear. Eventually the music began and on he walked, the infamous mask pressed up against his microphone. But the Taste of Sonar crowd are canny. They know what they’re paying for. “That’s not Doom!” shouted a girl next to me. It spread like wild fire and the music cut out. Off walked the imposter and out came the cries of outrage. The rumours proved true; he would send on someone else, something he’d done many times before.
Eventually the real Doom appeared and giant screams erupted. The base line jumped out and hands flung in the air. As his microphone pointed into the crowd, his lyrics were screamed back at him, the artwork from his recent album ‘Born Like This’ projected behind him. Playing songs like ‘Absolutely’ and ‘Angelz’ pleased the crowd, although the Doom live seemed completely different from his studio recordings. Louder and brash, the base line more in your face, masked or not, Doom clearly has two very different musical identities.
Matthew Herbert and Roska followed suit, with visuals by Quayola and Minivegas enhancing the visual experience of the night behind them. In the Studio Lounge kidkanevil and Space Dimenion Controller captivated audiences, the once empty room now immersed in smoke, the white projection screens now alive with colour.
My one regret of the night was that I couldn’t be in two places at once. If only I could be like Doom. He has the luxury of performing on stage and sitting back stage at the same time. My stage could be Studio 1, my backstage the Studio Lounge. However, I was sans mask so made my pick out of all the exciting and innovative things A Taste of Sonar had to offer me. I wasn’t disappointed and I don’t think any of the 3000 revellers that attended the weekend’s events would have been either.
If music be the food of love, play on. I left the Roundhouse feeling very full.