Sónar Calling phase one line up released… in outer space, to find another race!

Sónar has just announced it’s first phase line-up for what promises to be the best event yet. It’s 25 years since Sónar opened its doors, and one of the first acts from that inaugural event, held in Sala Apolo back then and not the grand La Fira exhibition complexes we are used to today, was Techno Don, Laurent Garnier. He is set to return again this year, alongside some other regulars, such as Richie Hawtin for example.

However, we could be expecting some other guests from much further away… infact from a galaxy far, far away!

Well not quite that far maybe, but to help mark its silver anniversary celebrations, Sónar’s organisers have gone interstellar with the festival’s marketing communications in their search for new festival goers, with sights set on an exoplanet located within our own galaxy – aka GJ273b – orbiting Luyten’s Star. The cool, red dwarf – which are quite common stars in the universe – is in the constellation Canis Minoris 12.4 light years away.

The first transmissions were sent out last October from the EISCAT (European Incoherent SCATter Scientific Association) antenna located in Tromsø, Norway (pictured). The project is being coordinated in conjunction with IEEC (Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia) who teamed up with METI (Messaging to Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) to get Sónar’s cosmic message out there.

Like some kind of intergalactic pirate radio station, the artists were faced with a unique challenge of communication – but with a twist, possibly connecting for the first time with an alien species. The first message contained a mathematical and scientific tutorial that starts with some basic principles, and builds up, step by step, to more complex concepts in order for new life forms to understand us and to help them get down to some funky beats.

Participating artists have had to come up with very distinct and imaginative responses to this problem, ranging from the poetic to the mathematical – music composed according to mathematical tenets devised to be easily decoded – and to the political – both in terms of presenting how humans are as a species and in providing a critique on how we are destroying the planet.

In a statement from Sónar HQ in Poble Nou, the festival founders Enric Palau, Sergio Caballero and Ricard Robles commented:

“SónarCalling arises from the innate human need to communicate and connect. It also attempts to find an answer to a question asked by civilisations throughout history… Are we alone in the universe?”

“At Sónar, we hope we aren’t. Furthermore, given the largely negative impact of humanity on our planet, perhaps this is the best time to reach out to – hopefully superior – extraterrestrial intelligence and to solicit help and advice on what we can do to change things. At a time of global conflict and seemingly insurmountable challenges, SónarCalling is an attempt to rekindle a sense of global consciousness and share a reflection on our collective present that we hope will lead to new ideas and new partners. And yes, even alien ones,” they said.

The lucky blighters at the receiving end will be blasted with tunes and messages from the likes of Jean-Michel Jarre, Autechre, Richie Hawtin, Carsten Nicolai, Modeselektor, Laurent Garnier, Holly Herndon, Matmos, Nina Kraviz, The Black Madonna, Kate Tempest, Kode 9, Laurel Halo and Daito Manabe. More transmissions are scheduled from April 2018.

But don’t worry, the ETs won’t be able to reply until Sónar’s 50th anniversary, so the organisers are not expecting any aliens to turn-up just yet!

The Sónar 2018 phase one line-up includes; LCD Soundsystem, Gorillaz, Diplo, Richie Hawtin (Special Closing performance), Bonobo, Laurent Garnier, Wiley, Black Coffee, Feel My Bicep and George Fitzgerald among some artists announced for the event so far. For more information visit.

Sónar 2018 links

Website/Tickets for Earthlings here

Sónar Calling for Aliens here

Sónar Sounds for Everybody here

#sonarcalling #GJ273b #sonar2018 #sonar25

About the Author

Since moving to Barcelona 13 years ago, Mark J established himself as a DJ, a producer, a radio presenter and a freelance writer. He is nightlife editor of Barcelona Connect Magazine and has written for various online and print publications. Mark has interviewed legendary artists such as Jean Michel Jarre, Laurent Garnier, Dubfire & Funk D’Void as well as emerging artists like Carlo Lio, Mark Reeve or Coyu. You can catch him DJing in Barcelona clubs the Macarena and Becool.