Sónar Reykjavík 2016 Preview

Sónar Reykjavík

Two weeks to go, then there will be another reason to return to Iceland finally. It’s not that Iceland wouldn’t already be a reason for itself of course. You can go there anytime. But in terms of music, the first huge and popular music festival is right ahead: Sónar Reykjavík! Three days, five stages, 76 DJs and bands and about 3500 visitors from Iceland and abroad – from 18th to 20th of February, Reykjavík’s famous concert hall Harpa will not only be ablazed with light but also shaking through the beats and the people dancing inside. Most of all, the festival will showcase the most recent and advanced sounds in Electronic and Hip Hop music. Next to a few of the hottest international acts currently around like Boys Noize or Holly Herndon, there will also be a luscious line-up of Icelandic bands. Of course we’ll be on site to give account. But for the thrill of anticipation, here are our personal “I’ve-gotta-see-that-for-sure” Top 3!

Sónar Reykjavík 2016: Staff Picks

Sónar Reykjavík
Harpa Concert Hall, venue of Sónar Reykjavik 2016. Photo © Nic Lehoux by courtesy of Sónar Reykjavik

Steffi won’t miss:

GKR

There’s this song, GKR pretends to answer a call, loudly asking “Halló?” And the crowd responds likewise – “Halló!” When it comes to Iceland, one might already call this song a hit and GKR one of the highly praised Icelandic rap acts. Undoubtly, he’s highly popular among the Icelandic scene as you could impressively experience during his Airwaves set at Húrra. Besides Halló, his song Morgunmatur (which simply means breakfast) is a real insider’s tip. No matter if it on the phone or at breakfast, GKR is one of the most promising rap artists currently around and an enrichtment. You can convince yourself on Friday, 19th, at SonarHall – and even sing along a little bit. Halló?!

Úlfur Úlfur

Úlfur Úlfur are those two talented guys from Reykjavík, Arnar Freyr and Helgi Sæmundur, who occasionally prefer to ride an Ielandic horse rather than drive a swanky car in their music clips. And they also break other common rap stereotypes. The still rap in Icelandic which is maybe not that easy but all the more authentic. For five years Úlfur Úlfur are now making music together, playing sold-out shows. And they’re perfectly in line with the other two of my picks when it comes to their style. The show at SonarHall on Saturday, 20th, will most certainly be thrilling and sweaty.

Vaginaboys

Admittedly, it seems as if Vaginaboys do have a special status here on our blog, but they simply must not be left out in this list. Just to remind you, Vaginaboys are those mysteriously masked guys playing some sensitive romance electro pop. With their song “Elskan af því bara” they captured the hearts of countless Icelandic ladies. By now, there’s even an official “Vaginagirls” fan club on Facebook. In other ways as well it seems to be good times for Vaginaboys. They had a number of gigs in Reykjavík last year, culminating in captvating appearances during Airwaves. Now it’s their first Sónar appearance and they announced spectacular live 3D visuals. I’ll take my tube of glitter along. It’s gonna be vivid and wild.

Philip won’t miss:

Tonik Ensemble

The transcendental electronic experience of special kind. Your thoughts will fade away, zero gravity like, when Anton Kaldal Ágústsson creates spheres of sounds from his synthesizers and keys. Above the driving bassline and sound experiments a voice both fragile and mighty will cause goosebumps. Your body will start moving automatically, twitching to the beat. Just like the tall, graceful, charismatic and probably bare-footed artist on stage. Gosh, I’m impatiently looking forward to Friday at SónarPub!

East of my youth

The electro pop newcomers that first emerged during last Airwaves, right ahead with a KEXP live broadcast from Kex Hostel we cannot await to be relased. So far there’s not too much to listen to, their debut record is announced for this year. However, what we have seen until now has definitely pricked up our ears. “Only lover” for example sounds compelling, the music clip is really creative and slighty freaked out. Keep an eye on them! Preferably already on Friday at SónarComplex.

Intr0beatz

The Icelandic representative for underground house enriched by some drum&bass style rhythms now and then. And you could call him a veteran of the local club scene though his roots are located in hip hop. Massive beats will ensure a very danceable atmosphere on thursday at SónarPub, one of the smaller stages. If you like to kick into high gear check out his almost 3h set from Prikið Bar on his SoundCloud page. If you wanna taste first, then this should be your choice:

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