MUTEK, a half decade ago. The goodness continues. Photo: Britta Frahm.

We’re inundated with event info, and one of my general rules is to avoid lots of event listings. But the lineup for famed audiovisual fest MUTEK looks simply epic.

Highlights, just for a taste:

  • Moderat. Apparat and Modeselektor. Like peanut butter and chocolate.
  • A\VISIONS looks, as always, like an essential event in audiovisualism. Wolfgang Voigt will present GAS and Herman Kolgen has a new piece.
  • For the first time, Club Transmediale gets its own showcase.
  • An unusually eclectic lineup adds dub, acoustic-electronic, and cross-genre collaboration.
  • Robert Henke (Monolake) and Christopher Bauder finally bring their 64 illuminated helium balloon installation (ATOM) to North America.
  • Akufen returns to live performance.
  • For techno lovers, Resident Advisor brings in the likes of Mathew Jonson, Dandy Jack, and Carl Craig to keep you up all night Saturday.
  • Not just Berlin: People from all around the world are making sounds, and even events like the Decibel Festival get highlighted, so you get a great cross-section of a lot of scenes. (I have to bring this up, because I’ve already seen stories claiming Mutek is basically Berlin in Montreal, and from the lineup I see below, that’s a misrepresentation. We love Berlin, but glad as always to see representation from scenes elsewhere.)

MUTEK Lineup at MUTEK site (which has also been posting podcasts with the artists)

And, actually, almost everything looks like a highlight. Not only is it Mutek’s one-decade anniversary, it feels like it’s a special moment for electronica and audiovisuals in general, like the forces of goodness are again converging planetwide.

I think even Mutek aside, some good times are ahead – and Montreal could be a great place to celebrate. Speaking of which…

CDM Coming to Montreal – Get In Touch

I was unable to attend MUTEK last year, but this year should happily be different. I know the Warper crew from New York City are planning their own live music party separately, and CDM may be able to put on an event. If you have a venue or are interested in collaboration, let us know. I’m also available to do the workshop thing while in town. Mostly, it’d be helpful to connect with folks in Montreal as I’m in town, since it isn’t my city. If we can get a daytime space, we may be able to do some additional interviews of Mutek artists and Montreal videomusicological citizens.

You can reach me and the CDM gang at our contact page, or email me directly at peter (at) [thenameofthissite.com]

What’s Going On

Heck, let’s break the rules and run the whole press release, as it will have fans of this event salivating:


MAY 27TH TO MAY 31ST: THE DESIGN OF MUTEK’S FIVE DAYS

DAY 1 // WEDNESDAY, MAY 27

A\VISIONS 1: Monument-National Theatre // $25 CDN // 8pm
MUTEK_10 officially gets underway with a showcase that presents two venerated artists whose work seeks to technologically alter the shape and sound of our relationship with nature. Cologne’s Wolfgang Voigt, roundly regarded as one of the greatest sonic experimenters of the 90s, delivers the Canadian premiere of his GAS project, a 90-minute audio-visual dreamscape that invites listeners into the Black Forest of Southern Germany, accompanied only by the haunting manipulations of Mahler and Wagner compositions. Afterward, HERMAN KOLGEN (one half of the multimedia duo Skoltz_Kolgen) will present the world premiere of his new piece "IN/JECT", which takes as its inspiration the prolonged submersion of the human body into a cistern of water and waits for nature’s pressing hands to alter the balance of the brain and, in turn, produce an internal music.

NOCTURNE 1: Society for Arts and Technology // $25 CDN // 10pm

MUTEK’s first-ever CLUB TRANSMEDIALE showcase focuses on the hazy lights of the retro-futuristic French psychotronic scene. The night begins with Montreal’s ORGAN MOOD, before giving way to the ultra-mysterious ZOMBIE ZOMBIE, who arrive for in Montreal for a North American debut. The French duo rev up their otherworldly fusion of psychedelic rock and electronics that raises the ghosts of bands like Suicide and The Residents. Equally mysterious but no less formidable is TURZI ELECTRONIC EXPERIENCE, the solo project of the eccentric Romain Turzi, who fuses krautrock and commune psychedelics while surrounded by a cavalry of vintage synthesizers that brings to mind the heyday of Jean-Michel Jarre. The night wraps up with the D.I.R.T.Y. space disco of Paris’PILOOSKI, who will take Turzi’s synthetic propulsions and embed them with the irresistibly carnal handclaps that drive the duo’s sought-after disco re-edits.

DAY 2 // THURSDAY, MAY 28

A\VISIONS 2: Monument-National Theatre // $25 CDN // 8pm
A showcase dedicated to the control and composition of human collaboration, in which generations of musical masters meet on stage to experiment through an eclectic mix of jazz, metal, krautrock, turntablisms, and of course electronics. Starting off the evening, an American group still unknown to these parts, THE FUN YEARS, one of the discoveries MUTEK has the pleasure of introducing to Montreal. Former CAN drummer JAKI LIEBEZEIT returns to MUTEK with frequent collaborator BURNT FRIEDMAN to perform an exclusive North American show that warps together over five decade’s of experience into one singular presentation. Afterward, the corrosive pairing of two of Quebec’s most uncompromised figures takes the stage. With his mutant turntable in tow, MARTIN TÉTREAULT plays the mad composer who fiercely controls the spastic and irrepressible drumming of his monstrous subject, Voivod’sMICHEL LANGEVIN.
NOCTURNE 2: Metropolis // $30 CDN // 10pm // presented by 33mag
The many factions of dub converge onto one large stage to showcase just how far Jamaica’s roots reggae templates have evolved toward new genres in the hands of some of today’s hottest names. None other than Skull Disco co-founder APPLEBLIM comes to Montreal for his Canadian debut and a DJ set that showcases the many points of fusion between UK dubstep and Berlin techno. A seamless blend of echoes, bass, and delays leads us to the heavily anticipated collaboration between Canadian dub-don DEADBEATand Berlin’s master vocalist of all things dub, PAUL ST. HILAIRE. Next up, MODESELEKTOR and APPARAT join forces for the Canadian premiere of MODERAT, a stunning live audio-visual production accompanied by the striking video work of PFADFINDEREI. And finally, the night winds to a tailspin with the breakneck dubstep assault of the Digital Mystiks’ MALA, in town for a Canadian debut DJ set.
Meanwhile, the SAVOY ROOM fills with the ambient soundscapes of EZEKIEL HONIG, CLINKER, I8U, NOVI_SAD, and AUN.

DAY 3 // FRIDAY, MAY 29

ATOM 1: Théâtre Maisonneuve // $15 CDN // 7pm
MUTEK is especially proud to be bringing ROBERT HENKE & CHRISTOPHER BAUDER‘s monumental ATOM installation to Montreal for three showings, a North American exclusive. This project is among the most ambitious undertakings of Henke’s long and distinguished career, in which he has already seen many high points as MONOLAKE and as one of the inventors of Ableton Live. ATOM features a series of compositions played on a matrix of 64 illuminated helium balloons that will be presented at the prestigious Théâtre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts. ATOM will be staged three times throughout the festival, once Friday evening, and then two more times on Saturday.
A\VISIONS 3: Monument-National Theatre // $25 CDN // 8pm
Building on the first two A\VISIONS showcases, this Friday evening set delivers a line-up of artists whose main impulse is to capture currents of electricity and compose them into rhythm. The detached, austere electric neuro-funk of Sheffield’s highly regarded SND gets the ball rolling, following up on their last MUTEK performance in 2002. Following suit is the first of two appearances by Berlin’s Tobias Freund, who here appears alongside Max Loderbauer as the magnificent, enigmatic NSI, a duo whose adventurous spirit and vast musical knowledge allows them to experiment with electricity from perspectives that incorporate a broad swathe of influences, from industrial to European jazz and everything in between. Finally, Montreal electricity-tamers ARTIFICIEL take the stage for the world premiere of their new piece entitled "Power", which creates its own lightning and pulls from those bright, fiery lights the brittle, halcyon sounds of power at its purest.
NOCTURNE 3: Metropolis // $30 CDN // 10pm // presented by MusiquePlus
Friday night begins with a showcase that emphasizes the sheer internationalism of rhythmic attraction and all its regional manifestations. Chile’s ORIGINAL HAMSTER meets Brazil’s NEGO MOÇAMBIQUE on stage to inaugurate this soirée of global funkiness, with the former’s Latinized techno brushing up against the latter’s infectious baile funk. Montreal’s favourite son, GHISLAIN POIRIER, who is ever-interested in evolving the hip-hop template, introduces his new soca soundsystem, while Berlin-basedJAHCOOZI, a group that pulls M.I.A. into Modeselektor, pump up the bass even further. Finally, Mexico’s BOSTICH+ FUSSIBLE, members of NORTEC COLLECTIVE, lead a five-piece norteño band that threatens to be one of the most festive live spectacles at this year’s festival.
Meanwhile in the Savoy Room, Canadian techno veteran MIKE SHANNON heads up a 10th anniversary bash for his Cynosure label, a label that has taken part in many MUTEK events over the years. To celebrate the two anniversaries together, Shannon brings alongERNESTO FERREYRA, MATT THIBIDEAU, and ADAM MARSHALL.

DAY 4 // SATURDAY, MAY 30

MUTEK//PIKNIC 1: Parc Jean- Drapeau // $10 CDN // 2pm
Saturday afternoon promises to be a showcase for those softer, subtler textures of electronic music: dub-techno, deep house, funk, and disco. The day starts off at a relaxed pace, ideal for lying back in the sun, with the Canadian premiere of Berlin’s THOMAS FEHLMANN, who presents his hypnotic brand of dub-techno to early-afternoon revelers. New York’s BRENDON MOELLER is up next, delivering a premiere of his upcoming Third Ear album called "Jazz Junk Safari". Manchester’s TRUS’ME follows suit with a set of rarefied Northern soul feeding the foundation of deep house that has made him an international favourite. The day in the park wraps up with THE MOLE on the decks, spinning a set of disco-fuelled techno.
ATOM 2 & 3: Théâtre Maisonneuve // $15 CDN // 5pm & 7pm
ROBERT HENKE & CHRISTOPHER BAUDER‘s monumental ATOM installation continues its residency at the prestigious Théâtre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts with two showings on Saturday, once in the early afternoon and again in the early evening.

A\VISIONS 4: SAT // $25 CDN // 8pm

A very special Raster-Noton showcase, featuring the label’s most durable attractions in their most bristling and conceptual post-industrial guises. The evening begins with the North American premiere of RYOJI IKEDA and CARSTEN NICOLAI‘s reunion asCYCLO., the pairing that wowed audiences last in the early 2000′s and has been silent ever since. Uwe Schmidt, the German expatriate currently living in Chile, reprises his role as ATOMTM. Next, Carsten Nicolai returns to the stage solo to present his much-heralded ALVA NOTO compositions. Finally, Olaf Bender brings the mighty BYETONE to life with the rock-driven Teutonic beats that have made his recent records so collectible.
NOCTURNE 4: Metropolis // $35 CDN // 10pm // Resident Advisor Night
The festival’s marquee all-night event, and for this 10th anniversary we’re pulling out all the stops! MUTEK and RESIDENT ADVISOR join forces to present a line-up featuring some of the most revered names inn electronic music today. Local jazz and funk sample-mavenMOONSTARR gets things underway in the main room, followed by the inimitable antics of French cabaret-house trio dOP. Next up sees the tantalizing pairing of two of techno’s most sought-after names — MATHEW JONSON and DANDY JACK — coming together for a heart-pounding live performance. Berlin’s Tobias Freund return for his second MUTEK_10 appearance, this time in his tobias. moniker and ready to keep the late-night crowds moving. Finally, Detroit techno pioneer CARL CRAIG takes the stage for a 3-hour DJ set that will take audiences well into the morning.
Meanwhile in the Savoy Room, MUTEK pays tribute to Seattle’s Decibel Festival with a showcase of that city’s finest electronic offerings. The breezy ambience of THE SIGHT BELOW gets the evening underway, followed by the dark tones of LUSINE‘s contemplative techno. PEZZNER and JEREMY ELLIS pick up the pace and follow through till dawn.

DAY 5 // SUNDAY, MAY 31ST

MUTEK//PIKNIC 2: Parc Jean-Drapeau // $10 CDN // 2pm
The final day starts off in the park with a very special reunion between MUTEK and two of its most beloved contributors over the years. This afternoon picnic features a rare North American appearance by RICARDO VILLALOBOS, who will be tagteaming on the decks for a marathon DJ set with none other than Perlon founder and manager ZIP.

NOCTURNE 5: SAT // $20 CDN // 10pm // presented by Bande à part

The return of the festival finale! For this tenth edition, MUTEK could think of no better way to cap off its decade of growth and innovation than to salute the Canadian artists who have provided the backbone of this festival all this time. Two longtime Montreal collaborators,MATEO & PHEEK, get the finale underway, followed by fellow Montrealer STEPHEN BEAUPRÉ. Next up, the highly anticipated return of AKUFEN, in his first live showcase of completely new material since 2004. The festival draws to a close with the impossibly talented live improvisation of MODERN DEEP LEFT QUARTET. Given the sheer number of other Canadians already in town and the free-for-all celebratory nature of the event, we can only imagine that a few surprise appearances may pop up through the night and join in this final jamboree.

INDIVIDUAL TICKETS & PASSPORTS NOW ON SALE

MUTEK PASSPORTS, WEEKEND PASSPORTS, DAY PASSES, INDIVIDUAL TICKETS and other packages are now on sale throughwww.mutek.org. This year’s passes grant attendees the flexibility to catch more showcases and live acts than ever before, in a number of different packages:
MUTEK PASSPORT – $215 CDN + taxes & service charges
WEEKEND PASSPORT – $135 CDN + taxes & service charges
WEEKEND "LIGHT" PASSPORT – $100 CDN + taxes & service charges
A\VISIONS PASS – $75 CDN + taxes & service charges
METROPOLIS TRIO – $70 CDN + taxes & service charges
DAY PASSES & INDIVIDUAL TICKETS also available at www.mutek.org

Workshops and panels remain TBD. We’ll keep you posted here on CDM.

  • Cody

    I did an IB French presentation on this. If true techno exists, its at Mutek… Thanks CDM for being my virtual ticket in.

  • http://www.musikgear.com theau

    BOSTICH+ FUSSIBLE, members of NORTEC COLLECTIVE and so more… So great performers. I which I could attend…

  • cloudburst

    so envious. enjoy.

  • twilight_fish

    I was there last year and it was amazing. So many great shows and the whole organization was really pro. One of the best festivals I've ever been to. They put us up in the same hotel as the artists. Nothing cooler than coming down the elevator one day and realizing that the guy next to me was Mad Mike Banks from UR.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Well, of course, the idea is that I go and get you that up-close-and-personal feeling even if you're not there. ;)

  • macha

    mutek also present a new project by Herman Kolgen!

    This makes me want to cross the atlantic !

    Skoltz-Kolgen s audio-visuals are so special.

    but indeed the whole mutek program looks fantastic!

  • http://bricktable.wordpress.com Jordan Hochenbaum

    i wanna go…

  • Simon Lacelle

    I'll be there for the Nocturne 2! Nice seeing my city on CDM :^P