Live Preview | Sónar Chicago

Sónar Chicago | September 9–11

It's a rare thing for a cultural institution like Spain's Sónar Festival to come to Chicago, so I jumped on the opportunity to cover it for Time Out Chicago. But breaking it down for unsuspecting Midwesterners proved to be another sort of task altogether. In print I did a nifty little flow chart, but of course that didn't translate online. So, here is a more easy to digest breakdown of some of the highlights you should be sure to check out.


Since 1994, thousands have flocked to Barcelona’s annual Sónar Festival to witness its groundbreaking assemblage of innovators in music and multimedia. And now, after successful turns in New York and D.C., it’s bringing the spectacle our way with a series of film screenings, audiovisual performances and concerts that span electronic, post-rock and experimental (and everything in between).



This D.C.-based Dutchman is one of dubstep’s brightest minds, mixing techno, new wave and sublime atmospherics into his bass-heavy and hypnotic productions. Sept 9 at 8pm; Millennium Park Pritzker Pavilion.

Ben Frost 
Taking experimental music to new extremes, Iceland’s Ben Frost combines effects-laden guitars, samplers, sequencers and layers of atmospherics for a dark and introspective result. Sept 11 at 6pm; Chicago Cultural Center

Germany’s Markus Popp is a glitch originator, taking disparate sounds from distorted audio and broken instruments and somehow churning out rhythmic tapestries akin to minimal techno. Sept 10 at 7pm; Chicago Cultural Center.

The Slew

Made up of turntable wizard Kid Koala, the ex-rhythm section of Aussie rock band Wolfmother and DJ Dynomite D, this quintet blows away traditional bands with its guitar-fuzz trip-hop. Sept 9 at 7pm; Millennium Park Pritzker Pavilion

Nosaj Thing

Think early Thievery Corporation on acid and you’re halfway to L.A. beat-tweeker Nosaj Thing’s sound. Couple that with psychedelic textures projected onto a huge screen behind him and you’ve got an awe-inspiring show. Sept 10 at 6pm; Chicago Cultural Center.



The film follows two ghosts as they traverse unusual and beautiful landscapes, hoping to reach the end of the earth and a chance to rejoin the world of the living. Sept 10, 11, 2:05pm; Chicago Cultural Center.



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