Sixteen years in, MUTEK is a real Montreal electronic music success story, with a sister event in Mexico City and smaller mini-festivals all over. This year’s edition begins on Wednesday, May 27 and runs until Sunday, June 1.
I spoke to four artists, two of whom are playing this year’s fest, to get their picks on can’t-miss shows:
(Owner of the Vase record label, played Mutek in 2011)
Every year, there’s an abundance of things to see at Mutek, to the point of feeling overwhelmed at times. I still haven’t caught the live James Holden show with the modular and drummer. Ten Walls is on the bill too — that should be a fun one. I’d really like to see Kiasmos and that Nocturne there with Anthony Naples. The last two Andy Stott albums remain in constant rotation for me and he never disappoints. Then it goes on with Daniel Bell, Mathew Jonson and probably a few insane late-night afterparties.
Cyan, aka CMD
(Playing MUTEK’s Expérience 1, Thursday, May 28, 5-9 p.m.)
There are a lot of Canadian artists that I’m excited to see play live for the first time this year at Mutek. On the deep dub-inspired end of the spectrum I’m really looking forward to SEEKERSINTERNATIONAL, Réservoir and Wiklow. And of course there’s Pheek, whose recent albums White Raven and Tones of Void are both masterfully crafted ambient explorations. Dasha Rush’s album Sleepstep on raster-noton is one of my favourites of 2015 so far, and I’m very curious to check out her live project Antarctic Takt.
On the techno/house end of things I’m excited about Steffi, I’m a big fan of both her full length albums on Ostgut Ton and can’t wait to see what she’ll do in a live set. I’m also looking to Dan Bell’s live performance as DBX for some classic jacking techno, and I’m pretty sure Fumiya Tanaka will deliver a real ass-kicking as the closing DJ on Saturday night at Metropolis for those who can handle it.
OJPB, aka Bowly
(Playing MUTEK’s Expérience 2, Friday, May 29, 5-9 p.m.)
The act I’m most excited to see is definitely Session Victim, their Boiler Room live set is enough to convince any fun-loving-house-dancer that this is probably the most accomplished house music live unit out there right now — if you add the fact that they play alongside Cobblestone Jazz (so Mathew Jonson, a live powerhouse) and Gatineau’s own Réservoir who’s been playing live sets for quite a while, Nocturne 5 Deep Ease looks promising. Nocturne 4 packs a lot of heat as well: P. Trafford is already a local legend when it comes to live and DJ sets, Svengalighost brings the dread effect back into techno and I’m quite curious to see what Gunnar Haslam will do for what is marketed as a world premiere live performance. Finally and randomly these are all the other acts I’m either curious or excited to see: DBX, Adrian Sherwood & Pinch, Mika Vainio, CMD, Bassilus C, Project Pablo, Neu Balance, Racine and Khotin.
(Played Mutek’s Metropolis 3 in 2014)
I don’t think there’s a single night that I can skip. On Wednesday, James Holden and Boundary are playing the Musée. The live videos of Holden playing “Caterpillar’s Intervention” are amazing. It’s nice to see Ghislain Poirier return to his IDM roots with his Boundary project.
On Thursday, Mathew Jonson is playing a free show outside. His live set-up has been slowly moulded to perfection over many years. I’m a big fan of Opal Tapes, so I’m curious to see what Basic House will get up to live later in the evening.
On Friday, I couldn’t miss OJPB. Surprisingly I still haven’t seen Project Pablo play out, even though I love his music. After that I’ll head to Metropolis to See Steffi and Andy Stott.
All Saturday night at the Musée should be amazing but I’m excited to see Paul Trafford kick off with his hardware-based live set and Anthony Naples shut things down on the decks.
On Sunday Mathew Jonson is playing as Cobblestone Jazz with the rest of his friends at the Musée. The free show that day is with Adrian Sherwood, Mutek regular Kode9 and Daniel Bell. These free shows are definitely not filler. It looks like a pretty solid year! ■
See our overview of the Mutek program here. Find all the details at Mutek’s website.