Synthetic Pop and Emotive Electronica in Sónar 2015
Like a polyhedron with infinite sides, electronic music has many faces, and Sónar 2015 represents many of its diverse genres and styles, providing as close to a definition of the contemporary scene as one could hope for. Seen from here, one of its most intriguing facets is that which feeds from pop, highlighting its elegance, its scope and its capacity for emotion.
FKA Twigs is one of the artists who have best internalized pop’s precepts, to go on to take them to a new place. Using dark electronica, her magnificent voice and inspiring melodies to create obliquely beautiful songs, the British singer has won over audiences from wildly disparate backgrounds. Another artist who swims easily through these waters is the Canadian Owen Pallett, a musical genius and virtuoso violinist able to create exuberant pop pearls that are contemporary, dramatic and rhapsodic at the same time.
This ability to connect with the listener’s emotions is especially present in the music of Róisín Murphy, whose recent album "Hairless Toys" was a further demonstration of her synthetic and sentimental poise; as well in that of Hot Chip, at the top of their game when it comes to taking the classic constructs of pop music (harmonies, choruses and unshakeable melodies) and melting them into dreamy house beats. Denmark’s Kasper Bjørke is another of the artists using synthesizers and drum machines to dive deep into melodic tunes, while three of this years most exciting acts –Icelandic duo Kiasmos, Britain’s Tourist, and Ten Walls, from Lithuania– are clearly setting out their stalls on epic and emotional electronica.
Five other names on the line up stand out for their ability to take pop to new and uncharted territory: Kindness, who mines the latent sound of 70’s and 80’s soul and synth-funk to create songs with undeniable emotional charge; Sophie’s fluorescent electronic pop that links to PC Music; from Barcelona, Fernando Lagreca and Mans O, both capable of bringing childhood memories flooding back thanks to their evocative chillwave; and, of course, the great Henrik Schwarz, whose organic and glowing house connects with the audience through the power of dance.