Thursday and Friday at Sonus Festival 2018

  • The final days of Sonus are a festival-within-a-festival, and one of the best minimal parties of the year.
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  • Sometime on Friday afternoon, on a sunny dance floor at Zrce Beach, the familiar vocals of Petre Inspirescu's subaquatic minimal bomb "Fiare" rang out through the crowd. Played by Sonja Moonear, who was spinning to a few hundred dancers on the final day of this year's Sonus Festival, it was the perfect tune for the moment, the elastic bassline darting across the floor with each bar. Moonear's set was full of classy selections like this, all mixed together with the kind of transitions you expect from one of the slickest DJs going. The crowd, older and calmer than the previous six days, swayed from side to side in sunglasses and singlets. Many had arrived specifically for this final session, a festival-within-a-festival held at Kalypso, a tropical-themed, open-air club blanketed in sunlight. Moonear shared the Thursday and Friday lineup with a number of similarly deft DJs. The 23-hour period between Dorian Paic's first record at 7 PM on Thursday and Binh's final tune the following evening featured hundreds of killer tunes. The combination of these DJs and warm weather has been been lighting up festivals for years, and Sonus is no different. From the big-room energy of Ricardo Villalobos to the more abstract sounds of Rhadoo, Binh and Nicolas Lutz, a huge spectrum of minimal was covered, which helps make Sonus one of Europe's best options for anyone into that sound. Earlier in the week hosted sets from DJs focussed on more in-your-face sounds, with the likes of Marco Carola, Solomun and Amelie Lens all billed. But many attendees choose to skip the first five days, arriving only for the minimal blowout—which includes an afterparty hosted by Berlin's Club Der Visionaere—at the end.
    This time around, the loopier tracks worked best. Paic's tough house and tech house loosened up the space as it filled, getting busy around 10 PM as people trickled into Zrce Beach from Novalja, the closest town. Lutz's more hyperactive selections took longer to catch on, the crowd feeling restless for the first half of his set. But they eventually locked into his slamming techno and electro bombs, partly thanks to transitions that kept the flow steady no matter how wacky the tune. His style is one of the smoothest in the game, which helps explains his ever-increasing profile. The same went for Villalobos, whose ravey selections—many of which, including Age Of Love's "The Age Of Love," he's been playing for the past few years—seemed to get a cheer every few bars. He saved the deeper tracks for later, stringing together a run of hypnotic techno loops that peaked with Mathew Jonson's "Typerope." It was a great moment, the entire dance floor transfixed on the bleeps coming from the speakers. The following 12 hours would see plenty of moments like this, the crowd united by killer selection after killer selection. The energy rose and fell slowly, sometimes boosted by the afternoon arrival of fresh dancers coming back for one last hurrah. But for many there, Thursday and Friday at Sonus is more than the last dance of a big week—it's one of the best parties of the year. Photo credit / Antonio Hant Corallo (Elephant Studio)