Certainly one of the highlights and biggest crowd pleasers at the Mutek festival is the late-night Nocturnes program of back-to-back DJs urning out non-stop dance music, but the other side of Mutek is dedicated to live performances that are often symphonic in nature, though electronically so, and almost always accompanied by stunning visuals…
Every year for 14 years, electronic music and arts festival Mutek packs a ton of artistic and musical talent into five days. This year, from May 29 to June 2, some of that talent will transport audiences into otherworldly realms, or at the very least shed some unique perspectives on this one. Starting the off festival’s artistic-leaning program on Wednesday night and continuing until Saturday, is immersive audiovisual performance Dromos, invented by artists Maotik and Fraction specifically for Montreal’s 360-degree Satosphère dome, located at the SAT. In their performance, the artists plunge us into a changing landscape that captures and critiques the constant speed at which our society moves.
Opening night’s A/Vision series begins with producer and musician Matthew Herbert, who turns from dance music (though he’ll be getting to that later in the fest) to audio-visually explore the “(after)life cycle” of a pig, while artists Dan Browne, Dan Driscoll and Steve Richman’s Memento Mori explores the human lifespan through memory, via a time-lapse sequence of over 100,000 photographs. In a similar vein, Thursday night’s multimedia Train Fragments by Mutek favourite Herman Kolgen travels speedily by filmic image, inspired by Steve Reich’s composition Different Trains, to be performed live by the Sixtrum percussion ensemble.
The acoustic, classically influenced side of Mutek shows up this year too: Berlin-based composer and musician Nils Frahm plays Tchaikovsky-esque piano with an emphasize on the stage’s ambient sounds; the Phi Centre presents a talk with minimalist composer Ernstalbrecth Stiebler and performances of his music; and performances by piano virtuoso Bugge Wesseltoft paired with producer Henrik Schwarz, who co-headline alongside Pantha du Prince and The Bell Laboratory at the gorgeous and acoustically superb Maison Symphonique de Montréal.
The A/Visions series continues to feature more audio-visual pairing: the electroacoustic and analogue music of Franck Vigroux with Antoine Schmitt’s visual algorithms; the “psychogeographical” Greyfields project of sound artist Michael Trommer and video performance artist Nokami; Montreal’s sound-art-with-lasers K.A.N.T.N.A.G.A.N.O.; and a theatrical performance by French collective 1024 Architecture. On top of that, the Play performance series runs – free of charge – every night of the festival: see influential career artists and up-and-comers on the same stage, including Andy Dixon, Christopher Mcnamara, Nicolas Bernier, Michel Plamondon & John Blouin, Fünf, Tim Westcott and many more in a setting intimate enough to see the settings on the synths.
Mutek, May 29-June 2, 2013