Let us take you to a place where Europe meets Asia: Istanbul. The only city in the world divided between two continents will host its second edition of Sónar, the electronic music festival that spans from Reykjavik to Bogotá, to Hong Kong and Barcelona – where it was born twenty-five years ago, nonetheless. On the 6th and the 7th of April, the city will become a meeting point for DJs, producers, music lovers, engineers and everyone who follows the festival that focuses on technology, creativity and innovation. Today, we pick the top ten performances you can’t miss if you’re attending it.

Adrien M + Claire B

As part of Sónar+D, the branch of the festival dedicated to pioneering technologies, the French duo will present Hakanai. This performance was originally presented in 2013, but has been touring ever since due to its elegance, uniqueness, and jaw-dropping staging. Performed in an immersive environment of a moving cube, the single dancer explores the ephemeral nature of dreams – actually, the word ‘hakanai’ means ‘impermanent, fragile, evanescent, transitory and fleeting’ in Japanese.
Black Coffee

The South African DJ has been on the top charts for the last three years. A regular in Ibiza, Miami and Berlin, Black Coffee conquers whatever city, club, and party he sets foot in. After being awarded several times for three years in a row, Nkosinathi Maphumulo – his original name – keeps proving why he’s still one of the most talked about DJs in the music scene. On Saturday night, get ready to move until your body asks you to stop.
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Dmitry Gelfand & Evelina Domnitch

Mesmerizing, singular, and otherworldly. These are some of the adjectives with which we could define Force Field, the performance that Dmitry and Evelina will showcase at Sónar+D. Originally from Russia and Belarus respectively, the duo’s practice blurs the limits between physics, chemistry, computer science, art and philosophy. In the artwork they’ll present, water droplets levitate, vaporise and reassemble in front of the audience’s eyes. Hard to believe? Well, you’re lucky: they’ll have a discussion panel with Olof van Winden, a cultural agitator, explaining their work and impressive career.
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Ferhat Albayrak

We present you a local DJ who took every club by storm in the mid-‘90s. Ferhat Albayrak plays a type of techno that defines the city’s culture and lifestyle: chaotic and diversified. After establishing Jeton Records, his own label, he’s been even more able to keep control on what he does, which is mind-blowing. If you need proof, remember this: he’ll be the one closing Sónar on Friday night (or morning, since it’s scheduled to last until 6am).
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This is an unmissable set. The German DJ, producer and label owner – he’s one of the co-founders of Kompakt – will bring some of the best minimal techno beats to the Turkish city. Born in Cologne, Wolfgang Voigt has been setting clubs on fire since the ‘90s with his experienced skills behind the decks. In Istanbul, he’s presenting himself as GAS, a project that he himself defines as “Wagner goes glam rock, and Hansel and Gretel on acid”. Do we need to say more?
Honey Dijon

Dance music and techno intertwine in the American DJ’s sets. In addition to splitting her time between New York and Berlin – the two cities where she’s based –, Honey Dijon has to also travel the world non-stop due to her highly demanded presence. After playing at multiple festivals and clubs like Berghain, and even being the one behind the soundtracks of the latest two Louis Vuitton’s menswear runway shows, the American is now landing in Istanbul to prove why she’s one of the most praised DJs in the world.
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Inal Bilsel

This is one for the curious minds. Inal Bilsel is probably one of the riskiest and most exciting bets of this year’s edition. He’s a young composer who works both with electronic, experimental and classical contemporary music, and is currently working on his PhD degree at Royal Holloway (University of London). In Istanbul, he’s presenting Tales From the Future, an audio-visual set that tells the fictional story of the world after a nuclear war in which a clandestine company called Simex trades simulated reality machines, to which survivors of the apocalypse get addicted because of their strong desire to scape their gloomy existence.
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Born as Tolga Böyük, the Turkish DJ is one of the freshest talents spotted by the festival’s curatorial team. Part of the emerging and ever-growing local scene, Islandman, who started in 2010, has now incorporated Eralp Güyen to the percussion and Erdem Baser to the synthesiser and the guitar. Last year they presented their first EP together, titled Music For Dreams, which combines several genres from krautrock to afrobeat. On Friday night, be sure not to miss them.

Born in Vienna but raised in Istanbul, Aras Seyhan – aka Levni – is another one whose background and cultural heritage enriches his practice. His sets are a delightful combination of hip-hop, jazz, electronic and traditional Turkish music. In addition to being a DJ, he’s also a producer and a co-founder of Well Gedacht, a Vienna-based art collective and music label.
Nosaj Thing

Last but not least, one of our favourite American artists will be performing at Sónar Istanbul. After seeing him play at last year’s Barcelona festival, we can’t wait to repeat the mesmerizing experience that only Jason Chung provides. Pioneering technologies, hypnotizing visuals and experimental sounds will for sure make everyone in the audience fall in love with his work.
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