Another year has passed and here we are again, after much hangover and rest, to tell you about the marvellous thing that happened at this latest edition of the Primavera Sound Festival. Thursday, the first official day, started with a Requiem. Dustin O’Dalloran, the Echo Collective and other guests (including amazing Icelandic cellist and composer Hildur Guðnadóttir) played a tribute concert toand to Johánn Johánnsson, the lamented Icelandic composer who died this latest February leaving behind some of the best soundtracks of the decade and a multitude of delicate neoclassical tracks. During the exhibition the emotion was palpable. The execution was not flawless but there was an extremely intense atmosphere. There were not many people present but the ones who were there were sincerely grieving through their presence the loss of such an amazing artist.
Next plate on the menú was Swedish organist and composer Anna Von Hausswolff. Her exhibition at the Adidas stage has probably been one of the best of the whole festival. Sustained by a group of solvent musicians, this promising artist has overwhelmed the audience with her experimental goth darkwave. Her intense and enveloping music has bewitched us, so that we almost forgot that another enchanter was coming on the Seat stage. We run not to miss Björk‘s concert but even so we have not been able to reach the first lines. The Icelandic fairy was surrounded by an equipe of flautists and she performed almost entirely her latest album Utopia, released on 2017, while impressive 3D visuals were projected on the lateral screens. Maybe probably because of the lack of old glories in the setlist, the audience seemed not totally captivated, and we were not either, so during the second part of the set we decided to search for something to eat and we moved to the next stage.
On the Pitchfork stage US-based electropop duo Silvan Esso really managed to create a connection with their audience. Amelie Meath, vocalist of the duo, was in charge to keep the attention high, and she managed in this task perfectly, converting their live set into an amazing party. On the other side Nick Sanborn, the producer, appeared completely absorbed by its music, hardly managing to stay on his synths and not to start dancing following the rhythm he created himself. But the Durham duo was only a synth-pop appetizer, back to the Seat stage Scottish trio Chvurches, back for the second time to the Spanish festival, showed how much they deserved this promotion to the main stage. Lauren Mayberry, on a princely white dress, definitively consecrated her band as one of the most deserving names of the weekend. The trio gleaned wisely from their entire discography, and the only flaw of the set was probably Martin Doherty’s voice on Under the Tide, which was (as always) quite strained compared to the studio version.
Finally, the first night ended with some more sophisticated and electronic vibes. At the Primavera stage Berlin-based pianist and composer Nils Frahm showed to a charmed audience how classical piano, experimentation and electric bits may work together very nicely. We were personally worried about the location of this intense and most awaited exhibition. In our mind the Auditori Rockdeluxe was a more suitable choice for the kind of music played by the German composer. And yet he managed to overturn all our reservations with a set not only touching and technically impeccable, but also extremely captivating and overwhelming. He obtained such effect by emphasizing the most daring sides of his recently released album, All Melody. Surely a winning choice in such a peculiar setting. After Frahm’s astonishing exhibition we all sat down on the steps of the Ray Ban stage, for the great end promised by Four Tet‘s live set. The British musician played his music in total darkness. No visuals, no lights, only the deepness of his hypnotic low-pitched sounds. After this thrilling lullaby we went home exhausted but excited, and the first day ended envisaging the wonders of the two remaining days.
Photos by Eric Pamies and Sergio Albert.