Lo-fi pop, 21st-century dub, punk rock, trap, avant-garde electro, and more: Arnau Sabaté of Barcelona label Foehn Records has selected a few of the most iconic songs and artists of the current underground scene in Barcelona and Catalonia. Check out all 21 tracks below.
Arnau Sabaté works as a promoter and seeks out new artists for Barcelona label Foehn Records. He also runs the Jägermusic program in support of emerging Spanish artists. Super active in the music scene throughout Spain, he has also booked bands for the CCCB, Obra Cultural Caja Madrid, Vida Festival and the Primavera Sound Festival. In his free time, he writes for music blogs and magazines. All of these activities help him keep his finger on the pulse of the music scene in Barcelona and Catalonia. For the release of our newest city guide, Indie Guides Barcelona, he has selected 21 tracks to represent the current local scene.
00:00 – The Outer Space – Gamma Ray Bursts
I just discovered this band recently because I was drawn to the album artwork – it’s absolutely amazing! As the name suggests, The Outer Space draws inspiration from cinematography. The band combines film scores with sci-fi music and adds a touch of mysticism along with its own groove.
04:30 – JGG – MM200
JGG is the solo project of Jordi Kana Kapila. Jordi is a key person if you want to understand the Catalan underground scene. This project is nothing like his typical sound. Here, the influences are more retro-futurism and library music.
06:44 – Akron – Tricorder
This mystical and mysterious project is led by Pau Loewe, a guy who I find particularly fascinating. He is a very versatile musician. He plays everything (well) and he does it all very tastefully.
09:04 – Biel Blancafort – i.coexist
I discovered Biel Blancafort at a party one night and a long time later, I realized Barcelona label Famelic had put out an incredible tape of his.
13:55 – Sun Color – Parallel Tracks Side A (Excerpt 1)
Behind Sun Color, you’ll find Julio Cesar, a real modern-day emperor of electronic sound. Fascinated by modular synths, he has evolved with his music project over time to create a very personal, concrete music world. You can meet him at Knob Shop, the only modular synth store in Barcelona.
15:53 – Plom – アルナウ寸法
I adore Plom as a person, as an artist, and as a character. His concept, his creative world and the way he expresses that through his musical compositions is absolutely fascinating. His music is intriguing and difficult to categorize but there’s enormous depth to it and a great capacity to be transformed with each new album.
22:08 – Titan Arch – Catalanphobia
Titan Arch is the personal project of Sergi, who is a real hero to me. He runs the record store Dead Moon Records and is part of the labels Boston Pizza Records and Conjunto Vacio, which put out records with very obscure vibes.
26:49 – Exotèric Continent – Línia Ocular
Arnau Sala is essential to the Barcelona music scene. His music has evolved a lot throughout his career, but he’s been tending toward electronic more recently. This song is from the album Referendum released on the Hospital Production label.
32:54 – Coàgul – Cobriu-me de flors
Probably one of the most interesting artists of the underground scene in Barcelona. Irreverent, amazing, punk, poetic, esoteric.
41:03 – Pedro Vian – Black Toms
Pedro Vian is one of the people in charge of Modern Obscure Music, a very good avant-gardist electronic label.
48:05 – Cecilio G – Mas pa mi’
I don’t think of myself as a connoisseur of this kind of music but Cecilio G is definitely a major reference of the trap scene in Barcelona. Provocative and poetic, I’m totally captivated by the bass in this song.
50:21 – El Gremio – Dame Otro Papel
I don’t have a lot ot say about this song released on 45 by the tiny label Galleta Records. It’s great, that’s all!
55:31 – The Zephyr Bones – Black Lips
There are few groups with a sound as fresh and clean as Zephyr Bones. Their main influences come from psychedelic themes and classic pop. It’s pretty difficult to be innovative with those genres, but they manage to do it with grace and good taste. Chill melodies, sunny riffs: perfect for springtime!
58:42 – Ocellot – Sun is Up
Every time someone asks me to make a mixtape, I can never keep myself from putting an Ocellot track on it. The mix of tropical pop, electronic beats and psychedelic aura fascinate me. Sun is Up was probably the first song I heard of theirs. Elaine’s voice is a big part of it. If I had to define this song in one word, it would be “expansive”.
01:00:23 – Mujeres – Aquellos ojos
Mujeres is the best band in Barcelona and this song is probably my favorite. It’s one of the few songs recorded in Spanish on the Canada label. If you like garage, you’re sure to like this.
01:04:05 – Aliment – Holy Slap
Even though they are from Gérone, Aliment is a key part of the music scene in Barcelona. Aliment smells like cigarettes and beer. This fuzz-pedal punk-rock group is really representative of a certain period in Barcelona.
01:06:16 – Ultratomba – Ultratomba no paga
It might seem a little over the top and it probably is, but I feel like I’ll never get tired of this weird and mysterious lo-fi pop group – they never stop surprising and fascinating me.
01:08:13 – Ulldeter – El cel
Ulldetter is a project by Alex Clavera, who also plays in bands El Guicho and Extraperlo. I really like the ambiance with balearic influences.
01:13:34 – STA – Weburdd Hi-Fi Version
STA reinterprets dub with his own very personal touch and does it with a lot of style, know-how and good taste. STA stays true to the roots of the genre while also having a very modern vision. Depending on the album, the sound is sometimes more Jamaican, and sometimes more obscure or psychedelic, but it’s always great!
01:16:40 – beGun – Mombasi Pt. 1
beGun is an electronic music producer in Barcelona. I really like the direction he took with this new album, with a lot of influences from the African continent.
01:22:59 – John Talabot – DreadMan (John Talabot Dusty Edit)
It would be impossible to make a playlist of Catalan music without mentioning John Talabot. I found this slow disco tune with balearic influences on the B-side of a single released specially for his Autumn 2015 tour. The artwork is very artisanal. It makes me think of beach parties and puts me in a good mood.