A day-by-day look at Sonus’ magic [Festival Review]

 

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A day-by-day look at Sonus' magic (Festival Review)

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Sonus has become an underground jewel of sorts of the Croatian festival scene within just five years of operation. This notion was evidenced physically by the thousands of partygoers flooded into the surrounding town of Novalja as the festival commenced its milestone fifth anniversary celebrations at the nearby Zrce Beach.

Over its tenure, Sonus’ following has grown immensely, with new attendance records broken each year. This just-past edition saw a record broken in terms of nationalities making the pilgrimage to their techno paradise — a record 65 in total. Of course, the continual success of the festival is hardly a surprise; organized largely in part by Time Warp, it has a proven track record of providing a premier dance music experience to its guests whose artistic caliber is matched by the natural beauty that can be seen by the festival’s beachside clubs.

Feature Photo Credit: Felix Hohagen

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Fans once again had their promises of a magical, underground dance-oriented getaway fulfilled in spades with Sonus’ arrival on August 20. Organizers worked hard to curate a well-rounded lineup which combined plenty of prolific names with those that are lesser-known. Regardless of stature, each of the 70+ artists brought their A-game to the table, making for an unforgettable five days of non-stop house & techno.

The task of naming a few select acts above the rest was daunting to say the least, but alas, the time has come to Dancing Astronaut top sets of Sonus 2017.

 

Photo Credit: Felix Hohagen

 

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Day 1: Len Faki ushers in the first Sonus sunset

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Kalypso and Papaya, two of Sonus’ clubs, were populated by sets fit for the daytime hours. Len Faki, however, opted to bring a slice of Berghain to Aquarius, inundating the open air club with raunchy, driving techno right from the start of his 6pm slot. By the time the sun began turning its golden sunset hue, the packed dance-floor was primed for darkness to take over as the Berliner continued his onslaught of pungent kicks set at tempos upwards of 130 BPM. While his set ended just when the night began, the amount of energy generated within provided a healthy kick-start to the rest of the week.

 

Photo Credit: Felix Hohagen

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Maceo Plex closes out Day 1 with a dose of heavy feels

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It’s about six in the morning, and the night sky is just beginning to give way to the morning light. As the brightening continues creeping into existence, those filling Kalypso are being swept away by Morrissey’s bellowing vocals and the following lyrics: “I am the sun, and the air.”

The orchestrator of such a breathtaking moment is none other than Maceo Plex himself, who also happened to pen a remix around The Smiths song whose lyrics were just mentioned. Of course, the path to get to there was wrought with twists and turns — fans were taken from the most sinister soundscapes into the sentimental light, through the ages with classics, and everything in between.

 

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Day 2: Monika Kruse brings joy to Kalypso with her infectious energy

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Monika Kruse is class woman whose love for electronica is palpable with each show. Having been around the block plenty of times, her intuition and ability to feed off of her crowds make her an ideal lineup staple for anytime of the day. This time, Kruse was tasked with bringing Kalyspo into the evening hours on Day 2. She rose nicely to the occasion, starting off soft and inserting plenty of grooving melodies into the mix before taking a turn in a harder direction as twilight hit. Her relentless smile and joyful energy radiated out of her the entirety of her set, which in turn kept her crowd in a state of entranced bliss that was lovely to watch.

 

Photo Credit: Ruben Schmitz

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Tale of Us ring in an enchanting Day 2 sunrise

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The sunrise and Tale Of Us are an idyllic pairing. Sonus picked up on this of course, scheduling the Italian duo to set the morning tone as Day 2 came to an end. They blessed a filled Aquarius with an ethereal, yet intense set that kept their viewers anchored to the dance-floor. Moreover, sense of time felt skewed as Tale Of Us brought them on an introspective journey catalyzed by haunting melodies, well-placed vocals, and thundering kicks that carried the momentum through to the end. High expectations for a magical sunrise were met when Matteo & Carmine opted to wield their touching edit of Hans Zimmer’s “Time” — the move had fans basking in every moment as moving string melodies swept over them to the tune of rosy skies.

Photo Credit: Felix Hohagen

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Day 3: Pan-Pot wreck their early-morning set in the best of ways

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German duo Pan-Pot were among the few who performed twice throughout Sonus’ tenure, allowing fans to see the full spectrum of their artistry and their skills of playing to their setting come into play. After rocking the Papaya club with a more light-hearted techno set at sunset on Day 2, they came back for a 1am jaunt at Kalypso on Day 3 and reaped complete destruction. A time where they went below 128 bpm was hard to find, as the black tee shirt-clad partners pummeled the crowd with post-apocalyptic techno. Their set was a veritable marathon that shot energy levels right back up to where they were twelve hours prior when festivities began. Photo Credit: Felix Hohagen

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Day 4: Adriatique take Aquarius to space

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Adriatique took over Aquarius at 2am on Day 4, promptly steering the club in a brooding direction with cerebral sound design and artful arrangement. The Adrians weaved together an awe-inspiring mélange of their own works and others whose futuristic aura made attendees feel as though they were traveling through space. One particularly powerful moment was when they brought out their remix of Tale Of Us’ “Monument” — Vaal’s haunting vocals encapsulated the floor, and time felt almost as if it had stopped. Adriatique’s late night offerings fit right into the dimmed island surroundings, and gave way nicely into Âme’s early-morning ride.

 

Photo Credit: Felix Hohagen

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Day 5: SHDW & Obscure Shape jolt Sonus’ final day into action

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SHDW & Obscure Shape make an unstoppable team, as evidenced by their swift rise to prominence in the underground ranks. Sonus gave them a chance to bring their skills out of the warehouse and into the open air, but of course, they never once forgot their roots. Though they began slowly, they subtly inched into a round of relentless, thumping techno that shook the dance-floor and bent the audience to their will early on. Their closing was thunderous as ever, with the Another Mind owners playing a series of favorites from their burgeoning label such as the Konstantin Sibold remix of “Gesang Der Toten Dinge,” and “Die Weiße Rose.”

Photo Credit: Elephant Studio

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Sven Väth exudes magnetic force at Sonus’ final sunset

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People call Sven Väth “Papa Sven” for a reason. The longtime icon exudes a warm, fatherly energy that electronic fans are drawn to like moths to a flame. His presence demanded an extended hour at the Papaya club, and he made sure to provide fans with an unforgettable performance that transgressed genres and generations of dance music. That said, despite being all over the map musically, each impeccable track selection was pieced together into a wildly cohesive and seamless vinyl set — only natural, coming from someone who’s been at the forefront of electronic for three decades.

After taking viewers on a four hour journey which went from smooth house in the day, to haunting twilight melodies, to pounding techno at nightfall, Väth closed with David August’s sentimental cut “Epikur.” Everyone had funneled into his set by this time, including many other DJ peers, and the room thundered in glowing applause as lifelong memories were made at that very moment.

 

Photo Credit: Ruben Schmitz

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