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XLR8R's Guide to Off-Sónar: 10 Things Not to Miss in Barcelona This Week

Now entering its third decade, Sónar continues to be a yearly highlight for music fans and industry types alike, with last year's relocation to the more spacious Fira Montjuic for the daytime portion of the festival showing a recognition that catering to upwards of 120,000-plus people is now somewhat of a given. At night, the immense Fira Gran Via L'Hospitalet plays hosts to guests such as Four Tet, Matthew Dear, Caribou, Massive Attack, and countless others, but for those after something more intimate—or for ticketless readers—there's a whole slew of independent events on offer around Barcelona that are well worth investigating. In truth, Off-Sónar has arguably become bigger than the festival itself, and certainly features a similar level of star power, at least for those in search of underground electronic music. That being said, there are also plenty of Off-Sónar events offering little more than poolside bros and a limp tech-house soundtrack. With that in mind, XLR8R has pored over the myriad of options that the city has to offer this week and put together what we suspect will make for 10 surefire hits. Read more » 

Corpse Poser: Drew Daniel Tackles Authenticity and Black Metal Politics on His Strange New Album as The Soft Pink Truth

Drew Daniel is halfway through swallowing a pill when he answers our Skype call in his Baltimore, Maryland home. He wonders aloud if the effects will become noticeable during our conversation about his latest solo album produced as The Soft Pink Truth. (A record comprising weird electronic covers of classic black metal songs, the LP is called Why Do the Heathen Rage? and is being presented with the subtitle Electronic Profanations of Black Metal Classics.) Just the idea of chatting about black metal, queer theory, authenticity, and leftfield dance music with one of contemporary electronic music's sharpest minds is enticing enough, but doing so while he's on something feels like striking gold. He announces his excitement to be going on tour with his long-standing experimental duo Matmos, playing a show in Brooklyn with Oneohtrix Point Never (then DJing its afterparty with his good friend Bjork), and attending his adopted hometown's Deathfest, billed as "America's biggest annual metal party," all of which are scheduled in the weeks following our interview. Having taken the pill though, it would seem that maybe Daniel has decided to start the party a little early. Read more » 

Five Minutes at EM15: Pinch Discusses Collaboration, His Musical Evolution, and America's Misunderstanding of Dubstep

In purely musical terms, MUTEK has been most closely associated with techno and the more experimental end of the electronic spectrum during its 15-year run, but its palette has undoubtedly widened a bit over the past few years. That trend continued with last week's EM15 festivities, which welcomed a rather diverse array of electronic acts to Montreal. Our complete festival rundown can be found here, but we also took the time to speak with some of our favorite artists on the bill. One of them was UK dubstep stalwart Pinch (a.k.a. Rob Ellis); a few years ago, he might not have made sense on a MUTEK line-up, but the evolution of both the festival and his own musical proclivities allowed the two to happily meet in the middle. We discussed this with Ellis, and also got him talking about dubstep—and America's misunderstanding of it—his two labels, his penchant for collaboration, and his upcoming mix CD with fellow UK producer Mumdance. Read more » 

Five Minutes at Primavera Sound: John Talabot Talks Disco, Barcelona, and the Joy of Running a Record Label

During the course of Barcelona's Primavera Sound festival, John Talabot was at the helm of a showcase for his fast-growing Hivern Discs label, which presented a nine-hour stretch of DJ and live sets from the imprint's inner circle that ultimately stood as one of the weekend's highlights. (Our full review can be read here). Following his early set in the Bowers & Wilkins + Boiler Room tent on the festival's closing night, we caught up with the Barcelona DJ/producer to chat for a few minutes about his disco-heavy set, his plans for the Hivern Discs label, and what it's like to have an event like Primavera in his hometown. Read more » 

Hi-Five: Mark Barrott Digs into His Archives and Shares Some of His Favorite Balearic Gems

Earlier this week, Mark Barrott released a new full-length, Sketches from an Island. Recorded in his adopted home of Ibiza—the British producer previously resided in Punta del Este, Uruguay, where he founded his International Feel label—the album compiles tracks from two previous Sketches from an Island EPs, both of which were limited-edition, vinyl-only offerings. Barrott's music channels the relaxed, sunny spirit of classic Balearic sounds, yet his tracks can't be boiled to a single genre tag. Simply put, Balearic is something that ultimately boils down to a vibe, and Barrott has proven himself to be something of an expert. As such, we figured that he would be an excellent candidate for our Hi-Five series, and coaxed him into sharing a few of his favorite cuts. Read more » 

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