[Above image credit: Resident Advisor]

Founded in 1994, Sonar Festival in Barcelona, has established itself as one of the most popular, yet diverse and adventurous festivals of the European electronic music scene. With a line up ranging from Jon Hopkins to Justice, from Moderat to Thundercat, a musical event of this magnitude situated in Spain’s culture capital, could not disappoint.

A testament to the bold attitude of this event comes from our weekly set of choice, played at Sonar in 2016, which pairs together two Mantissa favourites, Ben UFO and Helena Hauff. The pair undoubtedly share different styles and selection, with Ben tending to play more progressive techno and electronic that maintains a melodious sound, and Helena whose track tendency leans more towards raw and unpolished techno, with acid and post-punk touches.

The contrast between the two is evident from the start, yet both DJs’ exceptional mixing creates a harmonious unpredictability. The set begins with an unreleased post-punk tune by Harem, Eager Beaver, which sets the intensity of the set and immediately shifts to a more industrial techno sound with Rectum by Fango. A particular highlight within the first 20 minutes of the set is Dialectic by Spaceinvasion, which carries the exact unique and chaotic sound which the Hamburg based DJ always delivers in her sets.

The set then trips into Acid, dips in and out of EBM and heavy, industrial techno. With classics such as 1992 I Need Relief by Digital Domain, as well as Pearson Sound’s EP-titled, XLB, it showcases a top-class song selection and visits a variety of genres which never fails to be seen with Ben UFO behind the decks.

At a point where, “all night long” and long, solo sets have gained a lot of popularity due to the chance they give DJs to really take the crowd through a journey, B2B sets like this, can really bring a rare level of unpredictability, with the artists bouncing off each other, getting inventive, and stepping out of their comfort zone to follow one another.

Overall this definitely features amongst our favourite sets of 2016, equally captivating and energising to listen to at home, as it would have been in Barcelona.


  1. Harem – Eager Beaver [Unreleased]
  2. Randomer – Woodwork [Clone Basement Series – CBS 021]
  3. Sawf – Goves [Perc Trax – TPTCD 006]
  4. Fango – Rectum [Degustibus – DEGU 020D]
  5. Spaceinvasion – Dialectic [Terminal Operations – TO002]
  6. Pangaea – Skips Desk [Unreleased]
  7. TX Connect – Ghetto 972 [Dixon Avenue Basement Jams – DABJ 1207]
  8. A Made Up Sound – Syrinx [A Made Up Sound – AMS007]
  9. Aux 88 – Direct Drive [Direct Beat – DB4W-013]
  10. Front De Cadeaux – Ouvre Ta Bouche (Gabe Gurnsey Factory Floor Remix) [Subfield – SF008]
  11. Hacker & Millimetric & David Carretta – Moscow Reisen [Play It Again Sam (PIAS) – 252 1021 130]
  12. Silent Servant – Dissociation [L.I.E.S. – LIES 080]
  13. Dynarec – All Automatic [Solar One Music – SOM 027]
  14. Digital Domain – I Need Relief [Rabbit City – CUT 003]
  15. The Hacker – Open
  16. Jesper Dahlbäck – What Is The Time, Mr. Templar? [Get Physical – GPMDA 060]
  17. Mike Ash – Uprocking [Super Rhythm Trax – SRTX 012]
  18. Tessela – Up [!K7 – K 7335DTM]
  19. DJ Haus – Acid Bleep [Clone Jack For Daze – CJFD 24]
  20. James ‘Jack Rabbit’ Martin – Only Wanted To Be (Unreleased Acid Version) [Still – M 038]
  21. Dirty Criminals – Jak The Box
  22. Gunnar Haslam – Overcomplete [Naïf – ..6]
  23. New Scene – Out Of Control (The Belgium Mix) [BOY – 8810-12]
  24. Pearson Sound – XLB [Not On]

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