MUTEK 2013 Unveils its Full Lineup
A bona fide kaleidoscope for newcomers and seasoned attendees alike
April 23, 2013
From May 29th to June 2nd, the 14th edition of MUTEK will once again take up its mission to celebrate electronic music and digital creativity in its innumerable permutations, and to propel Montreal to the forefront of the international stage. A bona fide kaleidoscope for newcomers and seasoned attendees alike, the festival is proud to unveil its entire program. Imagined as a sweeping canvas teeming with colour and texture that patrons can explore over the course of the five-day festivities, MUTEK will present no less than 75 artist performances, including 13 world premieres, 14 North American premieres and 4 Canadian premieres. The high calibre of projects presented this year serves as an eloquent testament that this constantly evolving creative practice has now reached stunning maturity. Always keeping pace with the latest developments in electronic music culture, the festival continues to innovate and grow in scope, most notably by proposing new experiences to its public. Among them, the program presented at the Maison Symphonique, the possibility to take in an experiential performance that’s at once musical, olfactory and savoury via One Pig – the North American premiere performance of socially conscious British artist MATTHEW HERBERT – as well as the soirée celebrating the 20th anniversary of KOMPAKT, one of the most influential and acclaimed German labels.
Having already been established in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles for many years, MUTEK continues to strengthen its presence in the area. Besides the Métropolis, the Society for Arts and Technology (SAT) and the Monument-National, the festival will take over the prestigious Maison Symphonique de Montréal for the very first time. What’s more, MUTEK will set up its festival headquarters in a new space: the 5th floor of the 2-22, located at the corner of Saint-Laurent and Sainte-Catherine Streets. First unveiled in February 2012, the building will also host the daily 5 à 8 EXPERIENCE series, free of charge, from Wednesday to Saturday.
For a second consecutive year, the MUTEK festival is proud to count on the support of Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA) for numerous nights, with the set up of the RBMA stage at the SAT from Thursday to Saturday, among other components. The peak of the RBMA/MUTEK partnership is expected for the festival’s final day, with the performances of PANTHA DU PRINCE & THE BELL LABORATORY and that of BUGGE WESSELTOFT & HENRIK SCHWARZ at the Maison Symphonique, as well as the closing night, world premiere performance of the Borderland project, which brings together electronic music pillars JUAN ATKINS and MORITZ VON OSWALD – pioneers of the Detroit and Berlin scenes, respectively.
Since our last announcement, MUTEK is proud to add the following international artists to its festival line-up: 1024 ARCHITECTURE [FR] / LEE GAMBLE [UK] / TOKIMONSTA [US] / DE JUEPUCHAS [CO] / BUGGE WESSELTOFT & HENRIK SCHWARZ [NO/DE]
Furthermore, 30 Canadian artists have now been confirmed for this upcoming edition:
ANDY DIXON / ATAM ONE / AUGUSTINE WRONG / CHRIS MCNAMARA / CLOUDFACE / DEAD HORSE BEATS / FÜNF / HEAR / HERMAN KOLGEN / HOBO CUBES / JESSE BRU / JESSE OSBORNE-LANTHIER / MACGUFFIN / MANUEL CHANTRE / MEMENTO MORI / MICHAEL TROMMER & NOKAMI / MICHEL PLAMONDON & JOHN BLOUIN / NICOLAS BERNIER / PHEEK&DIAGRAF / PULSES / RAMZI / ROCHE OVALE & THIERRY GAUTHIER / SLOWPITCH / STEFNY / VALENTIN STIP / VAN DID / VLOOPER / WNDFRM / YES MA’AM / ZODIACAL LIGHT
Individual tickets are on sale at: mutek.org/tickets. Different packages are also available to those looking to experience the festival in its entirety (Festival Passport) or by breaking it down along different itineraries.
FROM MAY 29 TO JUNE 2: FIVE DAYS OF MUTEK, EXPLAINED
DAY 1 – Wednesday, May 29
EXPERIENCE 1 - Presented by Bande à part: 2-22 – 5 p.m. – Free
An encouraging observation: the local scene continues to spawn a steady stream of talented emerging artists. MUTEK wishes to support them with visibility, notably as part of the EXPERIENCE series. To kick off this edition, AUGUSTINE WRONG, STEFNY et YES MA'AM will follow one another on the 2-22’s 5th floor, and remind us that the local contingent deserves our undivided attention.
A/VISIONS 1: Ludger-Duvernay Room at the Monument-National – 8 p.m. – $27
Talk about a thunderous way to kick off the A/VISIONS series, with two performances that, each in their own way, share a creative fascination for the cycle of life. First up will be Canadian artists DAN BROWNE, DAN DRISCOLL & STEVE RICHMAN, who explore the fleeting nature of human memory in MEMENTO MORI. To do so, they revisit a film comprised of more than 100,000 photographs, captured over the course of a lifetime, and shape it into an extrasensory photomontage presented here in world premiere. The programme’s second part, a North American premiere, will present British producer MATTHEW HERBERT, who also explores the cycle of life… of a pig, in this instance. The ONE PIG performance mainly revolves around the defining sounds in the life of a pig, from birth, to slaughter, to plate. On stage, Herbert is accompanied by musicians decked out as lab assistants, as well as a chef (of the culinary kind), in order to delve into every facet of a pig’s (after)life. The artistic and political approach to the subject matter is at once visual, sonic and scent-laden, which promises to make for an unforgettable festival experience.
PLAY 1: Hydro-Québec Studio at the Monument-National – 10 p.m. – Free
This year, the Hydro-Québec Studio transforms itself into a bona fide immersive space, both visually and sonically. The experiences get underway with three performances built around the theme of the city. Firstly, a MUTEK-commissioned piece for Vancouver-based artist ANDY DIXON, whose sound practice consists of researching and reconstructing the soul of a city – in this case, Montreal – through a variety of evocative, signature sound samples. Taking a similar interest in his formal preoccupations, CHRIS McNAMARA explores our culture’s conflicted relationship with big city life through abstracted sounds and fragmented visuals in AMULET CITIES. Lastly, ROCHE OVALE & THIERRY GAUTHIER present the stroboscopic performance DISLOCATION, a visual and acoustic reinterpretation of a geolocated soundwalk with images of the city.
NOCTURNE 1: Total Kompakt – SAT – 10 p.m. – $35
Over the years, MUTEK has cultivated a privileged relationship with the mythical German label KOMPAKT, through organizing nights featuring many of its artists. To celebrate KOMPAKT’s 20th anniversary and to attest to its major contribution to the musical landscape, artists covering a broad spectrum of the label’s DNA will be showcased during this first NOCTURNE. American veteran JOHN TEJADA will get things underway with a premiere performance of his new material. Then, Swedish artist THE FIELD – one of the label’s flagship artists – will spread his minimal, hypnotic techno. Then, SASCHIENNE, a couple comprised of Sascha Funke and Julienne Dessagne, will expand the scope of the night with its romantic techno touch – a distinguishing feature of the “KOMPAKT sound”. Finally, MICHAEL MAYER, one of the founders of the Cologne-based label, will have the honour of capping off the night – the only KOMPAKT anniversary event held on North American soil.
DAY 2 – Thursday, May 30
EXPÉRIENCE 2 - Presented by Bande à part: 2-22 – 5 p.m. - Free
An offbeat program that reflects the variety of the current scene: a late afternoon devoted to instrumental hip-hop. ATAM ONE presents mello-fi music in the same vein as Ninja Tune’s earliest signees, and sets the stage for DEAD HORSE BEATS, who uses his instruments and beats to unleash an expanded, reinvented take on glitch-hop.
A/VISIONS 2: Ludger-Duvernay Room of the Monument-National – 8 p.m. – $27
Acoustic elements take center stage tonight! The second A/VISIONS gets started with virtuoso German pianist NILS FRAHM and his three pianos. Showered with praise, this musician and composer is interested in the countless sonic possibilities that define his instrument of choice; he brings together classical music with electronic accents in a frank, effortless way. Following this smooth introspection, Quebec artist HERMAN KOLGEN, renowned abroad for his digital arts sculptures, invites the public on a sweeping multisensory trip with TRAIN FRAGMENTS. Presented at MUTEK in a new configuration with the Université de Montreal’s SIXTRUM percussion ensemble (a world premiere), the public will witness the meeting of contemporary music and digital creativity, with a live score inspired by Steve Reich’s notoriously difficult string quartet, Different Trains.
PLAY 2: Hydro-Québec Studio of the Monument-National – 10 p.m. – Free
Everything revolves around manipulation and immersion on this second night of PLAY. First off, NICOLAS BERNIER presents the audiovisual performance FREQUENCIES (B), the second instalment of an avant-garde sound installation that simultaneously renders sound visible and a stream of light audible. He’ll be followed by ZODIACAL LIGHT, a performance for 16mm film projection and optical sound where the images and sounds are altered and refracted through live manipulation – filters, shadows, synthesized effects – by Montreal artists LEYLA MAJERI and KATHERINE KLINE. Finally, MICHEL PLAMONDON & JOHN BLOUIN present their semi-immersive 4X3 project, wherein many analog and digital video projectors and 16 mm films are set up in a space with four walls and three screens.
NOCTURNE 2: Métropolis + SAT – 10 p.m. – $40
A booming Metropolis will roll out a line-up chockfull of extraverted and creative music. Known for his home-made DIY creation of musical instruments, FRIVOLOUS brings unique texture to his live performances. After this appetizer halfway between techno and swing, the stage is set to fully appreciate the sunny electro grooves of the charismatic JAMIE LIDELL. The latter performer promises a singular performance with his complex, soul-infused sounds layered atop falsetto vocals. Next up will be the German trio BRANDT BRAUER FRICK, who’ll bring their fresh take on classical-accented electronic music with a film noir aesthetic. All of this musical merrymaking will lay the groundwork for WISHMOUNTAIN’s mellifluous creative madness. Behind the pseudonym, you’ll find no other than acclaimed producer Matthew Herbert, who promises a shimmering, instinctive DJ set.
Running concurrently at the SAT, the RBMA stage offers an entirely different trajectory – contrast-enhancing effect guaranteed. PULSES sets the tone for a night dedicated to low frequencies and bass music, with their undulating dub techno textures and melodies. The British boast a solid reputation along the genre’s entire continuum, and LEE GAMBLE lives up to such geographical claims by delivering a rhythmic, techno-accented take on his productions. Logically, Mancurian producer ANDY STOTT comes next, sharing his atmospheric, bleary-eyed sonorities wide a side order of haunted vocal stylings. In the same vein, DEADBEAT, a festival regular, melds techno with electronic dub. A heavy, collapsing ambiance will pervade the SAT with the night’s final performance care of Dutch producer MARTYN, who’ll charges ahead with his four-to-the-floor techno laced with futuristic accents.
DAY 3 – Friday, May 31
EXPÉRIENCE 3 - Presented by Bande à part: 2-22 – 5 p.m. – Free
Buttressed by rich textures and strong musicality, these three performances tell the story of electronic music in curious communion with the cosmos. RAMZI introduces us to this sonic realm, only to further plunge into the storytelling through HEAR and his Sonic Limbo project. Finally, MACGUFFIN will bring this musical narration to its peak.
A/VISIONS 3: Ludger-Duvernay Room of the Monument-National – 8 p.m. – $27
Unquestionably the most intense program, in the purest of A/VISIONS traditions: chaos and catastrophe make up the sum of these performances, where beauty can be found amidst the wreckage. To start us off, MICHAEL TROMMER and VJ NOKAMI present GREYFIELD: WAVEFIELD, a project investigating the sinister electro-magnetic spectra emitted by our urban environments. Frenchmen ANTOINE SCHMITT and FRANCK VIGROUX leave us spellbound with TEMPEST, a rip-roaring performance on audio and visual matter, where floating particles reimagine our shapeless universe moments after the Big Bang. In conclusion, Montrealers K.A.N.T.N.A.G.A.N.O present CATASTROPHE OF THE CHRONOLOGICAL, whose forewarning name points to an overarching narrative thread: the shift from chaos to order.
PLAY 3: Hydro-Québec Studio of the Monument-National – 10 p.m. – Free
This session will present work generally filed under the experimental and “noise” headings – mainly created using a variety of machines and assorted objects. To start off the electronic exploration, artist Francesco De Gallo, performing under the HOBO CUBES pseudonym, pushes back the boundaries of his sound using waves of techno, house and glitch with his project A CERTAIN VASTNESS. The five experimental electronic explorers who make up FÜNF are next up on the docket with their electric knob and handcrafted gear manipulations. They’ll then hand over the floor to JESSE OSBORNE-LANTHIER (NOIR) and his minimal audiovisual compositions, with projections and synchronized lights.
NOCTURNE 3: Métropolis + SAT – 10 p.m. – $40
This third Nocturne presents itself as the logical follow-up to the A/VISIONS 3 program. First of all, RYOICHI KUROKAWA’s unveils his “syn” project, a spectacular and enchanting spatial-time performance that plays on the dynamic between sonic and visual perceptions. The floor is then handed over to British duo EMPTYSET, who’ll roll out a hypnotic physical experience comprised of dark, dismantled drone abstractions. JON HOPKINS comes next, with his opulent and audacious electronic compositions, teeming with resounding synths and cinematic bass. He’ll then step aside as Detroit veteran ROBERT HOOD, a founding member of the revered Underground Resistance crew, will take the floor with his trademark style of stark and minimal.
Another program rife with contrasts at the SAT’s RBMA stage will feature a wealth of inspired variations on the “urban music” theme. Local artist VLOOPER, a tight-knit collaborator of Alaclair Ensemble, will get the night going with his auspicious patchwork of rhythm, sprinkled with mystical synths and assorted funk motifs. LUKID’s explosive combination of hazy textures, giddy tones and woozy tempos comes next, prior to the live performance of Montrealer Ghislain Poirier’s new project BOUNDARY, whose first album recently garnered heaps of critical praise. With his savvy amalgam of hip hop and pop sonorities, beatmaker ONRA’s groovy concoctions will smooth the way for young Irish producer SPACE DIMENSION CONTROLLER, an aficionado of analog synths who distills an eccentric blend of cosmic electronic music that often dips into disco delectation.
DAY 4 – Saturday, June 1st
EXPÉRIENCE 4 - Presented by Bande à part: 2-22 – 4 p.m. – Free
A light, loopy and playful afternoon is on the agenda of the 2-22’s 5th floor, celebrating instruments and synthesizers. It all begins with the soulful, minimalist reveries of VALENTIN STIP. Vancouver-based JESSE BRU then rolls our his cut-up acoustics and fluttering grooves, only to make way for young Montreal producer VAN DID. Lastly, Colombian collective DE JUEPUCHAS chop up and reassemble a dizzying array of sound samples from African percussions to street-based music, to offer a surround sound puzzle of collaged rhythm.
A/VISIONS 4: Ludger-Duvernay Room of the Monument-National – 8 p.m. – $27
Reflections and ruminations on the current state of the world define this fourth A/VISIONS, which kicks off with a third contribution from Matthew Herbert to the 2013 MUTEK festival (after ONE PIG and WISHMOUNTAIN). For THE END OF SILENCE, this British pillar of electronic experimentation takes spectators to the ground zero of a conflict. Using as his raw material the audio recording of a bomb’s immediate impact, as captured by photojournalist Sebastian Meyer, Herbert improvises on stage with three other musicians. French collective 1024 ARCHITECTURE will then present CRISE, the second part of their “Euphorie, Crise, Récession” trilogy, which confronts our global economic crisis and its toxic environment. On stage, the two performers use lo-fi tools and household gadgets to supplement their sprawling cardboard scenery, an ideal setting to be transformed through video mapping.
PLAY 4: Hydro-Québec Studio of the Monument-National – 10 p.m. – Free
For this final presentation in the PLAY series, artists will expand on exhaustive findings related to the interplay between image and sound. The unifying thread will be dub music, which visually colours the performances, starting with TIM WESTCOTT’s WNDFRM. Artist MANUEL CHANTRE explores new languages in BLUR ROUGE, with a vaporous visual sculpture wherein matter and light merge through a perpetual rotation. Finally, SLOWPITCH, in collaboration with video artist Wifihifiscifi, continues this exploration of sound and movement with the contemplative EMORALIS project, featuring images of gliding snails set to a soundtrack of exuberant textures and rhythmic quivers.
NOCTURNE 4: Métropolis + SAT – 10 p.m. – $40
MUTEK will once again have a spring in its after dark step – all night long! A program that stretches out well into the wee hours to take in the full spectrum of electronic music showcased in this crop. A night that has gathered leading lights of the genre while remaining accessible. The night will get underway care of Canadian CLOUDFACE, lover of analog synths and buoyant melodies. He’ll be followed by American sensation LAUREL HALO, who’s bound to captivate the crowd with an introspective set full of futuristic melodies and nostalgic polyrhythms. The Metropolis will make way for Catalan beatmaker JOHN TALABOT, widely celebrated for his energetic, infectious house with blissful bursts of pop. JOHN ROBERTS will then take his turn commanding the big-room environment with his vibrant, organic electro grooves infused with throbbing emotion. The last act will be left in the hands of a few inspired Germans: first up, Frank Wiedemann, one half of ÂME, will roll out his genre-hopping techno with dynamic surges of soul. His countryman EFDEMIN will cap off the night with an energized and eclectic DJ set, sharing the sunrise with the most committed MUTEK revellers.
At the SAT, the RBMA stage will offer an exclusive performance to kick things off: the GRAZE duo, an inspired collaboration between Canadians Christian Andersen (XI) and Adam Marshall, who will churn out a medley of garage and drum ‘n’ bass, far removed from musical clichés, and propped up by ubiquitous basslines. That will be followed by one of Ninja Tune’s most recent protégés, British singer EMIKA, who’ll take her haunting voice, and dark, downtempo music – both emotionally charged – to the MUTEK stage. Then, Los Angeles producer NOSAJ THING will drop languorous, chopped-up rhythms into the night’s brew with his distinctly downtempo take on hip hop. This musical sequence gets a very apt follow-up care of TOKIMONSTA, the sole woman signed to California imprint Brainfeeder, founded by Flying Lotus. To keep things moving well into dawn, count on English duo LETHERETTE, recently picked up by Ninja Tune, to wrap their intergalactic synths in a rich electro-funk coating.
DAY 5 – Sunday, June 2
MUTEK//Piknic: Parc Jean-Drapeau – 2 p.m. – $14
The last day of the festival begins at Parc Jean-Drapeau, with the established annual tradition of a joint program devised in collaboration with the Piknic Électronik team. On the main stage, Swede AXEL BOMAN will be tasked with kicking off the proceedings, followed by Berlin’s DEWALTA. Stalwart Dutchman SAN PROPER will then spread his sheer madness under the Calder, with his instinctive leftfield tendencies guaranteed to win over the public with an undoubtedly eclectic and cheerful set. As with every year, the Piknic program will be rounded off with a few surprise announcements unveiled on the day of the event!
A/VISIONS 5 - Presented by Red Bull Music Academy: Maison symphonique – 7 p.m. – $40
The Maison Symphonique isn’t accustomed to electronic music showcases. Nevertheless, the collaborative performances of BUGGE WESSELTOFT & HENRIK SCHWARZ as well as PANTHA DU PRINCE & THE BELL LABORATORY take on their full meaning in such a singular space. A longstanding pioneer in the melding of jazz with electronic, pianist BUGGE WESSELTOFT gets things going at the Maison Symphonique, accompanied by HENRIK SCHWARZ. The German producer, renowned for his deep house concerts, has played more than once with the Norwegian pianist, but this marks their debut performance in North America. Mutual listening and improvisation of compositions make up their basic creative tenets. Continuing along this aim to break out of the mutually exclusive confines of classical and electronic music, spectators will then be privy to another improbable meeting: that of PANTHA DU PRINCE and THE BELL LABORATORY, presented in Canadian premiere. Their album Elements of Light, released earlier this year, bears witness to this elegant marriage of electro with bells and percussions. Composer Pantha du Prince, operating his sophisticated machines, and The Bell Laboratory, a Norwegian collective of carillon and percussion players, have successfully conjured up exquisite, progressive pieces, and will demonstrate this mastery in a room renowned for impressive acoustics.
NOCTURNE 5 - Presented by Red Bull Music Academy: SAT – 10 p.m. – $35
Expect no less than a festival dénouement of the highest order for MUTEK’s 14th edition, which has programmed a highly anticipated world premiere! To kick off the night at the SAT, an introduction signed PHEEK&DIAGRAF, full of brooding textures. Then, Germany’s DICTAPHONE will take attendees on an arresting journey full of haunting cinematic atmospheres. A gentle warm up to the world premiere of BORDERLAND – the unprecedented collaboration of two great pillars, two pioneers of electronic music: JUAN ATKINS, originator of the “Detroit sound” and MORITZ VON OSWALD, towering figure of German techno and among those chiefly responsible for the “Berlin sound” associated with the Basic Channel label. Their album is to be launched post-performance, a testament to the importance of MUTEK and a nice treat to festivalgoers. The Amsterdam-based duo JUJU & JORDASH will get the last word for this 14th edition, as they take the crowd on their sweeping electronic explorations, going from dub to a primitive techno brand.
FROM WEDNESDAY MAY 29 to SATURDAY JUNE 1st
DROMOS – SATosphère – $15 – Certain showings will be free for MUTEK Passport and Weekend Pass holders.
This year, the program will showcase a special project at the SATosphère entitled DROMOS, in co-presentation with the SAT. The dome will be utilized to its full potential with this immersive performance, which first started off as an installation. This artwork is entirely generative – from the sound to the visuals – and the public can also interact with the steady stream of created data. Therefore, each showing will present an entirely new visual and sonic exploration. These performances will be held from Wednesday to Friday at 7 p.m., with a second showing at 8:30 p.m., as well as on the Saturday at 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.