Sonic Youth, Sigur Ros, Terry Riley Set For Sonar 2001

Amon Tobin, Aphex Twin, Nicole Willis to play Barcelona techno fest

In a sign that the wall between rock and electronic music continues to erode, Sonic Youth and Sigur Ros grace the top of the bill for Sonar 2001, Barcelona's annual festival of electronic and experimental music. Now in its ninth year, Sonar takes place from June 14 to June 16, boasting nearly 72 hours of live performances and DJ sets from relative superstars and resolutely experimental artists alike. Along with the two out-rock icons, this year's installment will present live performances from Minimalist pioneer Terry Riley, Chicago Improv guitarist Kevin Drumm, tech-house duo Circulation, deep housers Glissando Bros., avant-soul diva Nicole Willis, Two Lone Swordsmen's Andrew Weatherall, Los Angeles audio activists Ultra Red, and others. House and techno bigwigs Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox, Masters at Work, Frankie Knuckles and Laurent Garnier headline the festival's DJ component, supported by more leftfield sets from Ninja Tune artist Amon Tobin and Sonar Kollektiv's Dixon.

Sonar's program, spread across three days and nights, encompasses a number of venues. The daytime portion, set in the compound of Barcelona's Center for Contemporary Culture (CCCB), features several stages, a multimedia gallery and trade fair, along with the Sonarlab, reserved for label showcases from Thrill Jockey,, Runegrammofon, Blast First and others, selected and spun by the imprints' respective proprietors. Many performances from daytime and nighttime alike are grouped together by label: Russell Haswell, Squarepusher, Aphex Twin and Plaid will join together for the Warp stage; Fussible, Panóptica, Bostich and Terrestre will represent the Tijuana techno scene as Colectivo Nortec; and German sister imprints Force Inc. and Mille Plateaux will showcase their brand of post-techno with performances from SND, Kid606, Vladislav Delay, Curd Duca, G Man, Jasper, Luomo and Twerk.

Sonar's nighttime venue — which includes four stages as well as that staple of the European festival circuit, a bumper-cars course — moves this year from its seaside location in the Olympic pavilion to an as-yet-unannounced site which will provide raving room for tens of thousands of participants. Sonar has grown from an audience of 6,000 in its first year to over 53,000 last year; if it continues to grow at comparable rates, 2001 will see that number break the 60,000 mark. More information is available at — Philip Sherburne

Notes: The debut album from Texan Shea Seger, The May Street Project, is an enticing southern soul meets U. K. trip-hop affair that sees release June 5. There's a bit of Alanis and Macy and Beth Orton here, but all-in-all, twenty-year-old Seger has a sound of her own, and it's a good one. ... It is rare when a work of art gets recognized in its time, but that is exactly what happened yesterday, when Berkeley author Michael Chabon was awarded this year's Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his brilliant third novel, "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay." If you haven't read it, there's no time like now. [Tuesday, April 17, 2001]

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