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morgan packard + joshue ott

nicolas bernier


panel 2 / the ecology of festivals: beyond selling tickets

martin messier + jacques poulin-denis

nokami + sans soleil


the sat


panel 3 / copyright vs. creativity

ben frost


half hawaii


martyn / all i have is memories suburbia / apple pips recordings


the field

kode 9 + space ape

danton eeprom

dj olive

radio slave


onur özer / piknic elektronic / solo set

onur özer + mathias kaden / piknic elektronic / part 1 / part 2

nôze / danse avec moi / get physical
preview / pass: redrum

MUTEK was great this year and it started off with a bang. The opening A\Visions 1 being the first and the most memorable show for me with Morgan Packard & Joshue Ott, Nicolas Bernier and Murcof. All three artists were incredibly mind-blowing and strong. Morgan Packard, a fellow Canadian on Ezekial Honig's New York based Anticipate label, started off the showcase with a phenomenal set accompanied by beautiful and delicate Raster-Noton style visuals. Nicolas Bernier's visuals were not in-sync with the music or as stunning, but his music made up for it. He was basically a conductor with a lap top, creating theatrical and eerie film music, which was hauntingly beautiful. Murcof's set was stunning and was accompanied by strong stark digital lines that morphed into organic swirls and throbbing pulses. It was hypnotic and mesmerizing. I left the theatre so ecstatic and was overwhelmed with how astonishing the showcase was. It was an amazing start to what turned into a great Mutek.

However, that same night at Nocturne 1 I was instantly brought back down to reality by Heart & Soul's shitty performance. Two young losers with bandanas over their faces repeatedly yelling "Come On, Come On" into the mic to drum machine beats and sounding like shit. Heart & Soul was the only real bomb of the festival. Interstellar Fugitives, I respect for their history, but their preachy politics are dated and not relevant anymore. I also think their set went on for far too long and I lost interest in staying to see Seth Troxler. Also, what was up with the smoke machine? It made it difficult to see, breath and take pictures. After my euphoric experience at the A\Visions 1 show, I later wished I skipped Nocturne 1 to reserve my energy for the rest of the festival.

The next day started off with the first of four panels. I love the panels and find them interesting, but felt frustrated that they didn't really go far enough and only really ever scratched the surface. The first panel brought up issues of piracy. I wanted to be the devil's advocate and voice my opinion on the issue, but I felt like I would have been fueling the fire. It was hard to listen to privileged white kids rant about how we need to be "buying more vinyl" when they're clueless about the consumers' desires. The music industry is not dying, it's evolving and their archaic thoughts are holding them back instead of thinking about new ways to evolve with new technologies. They need to be innovators, not nostalgic dreamers of the past. Someone from the audience brought up an interesting idea about the possibility of purchasing tracks directly from their iphones, but that was instantly shot down by one of the panelists. I would have liked to have heard their thoughts about Radiohead's In Rainbows release and the issues and ideas surrounding the decisions behind that, but alas.

The A\Visions artists at MUTEK are showcased on a stage in a theatre environment with visuals. I have to admit the sit down shows where the audience is silent are my favourite experiences every year. There's nothing better than having an audience solely dedicated to listening without the rumble of the bar in the background. Nokami and Sans Soleil did a gorgeous set. Freida Abtan set was electro-acoustic noise based stuff with cheesy fire goddess imagery that seemed a little too clichéd for me, but she still managed to get some hollas from the crowd after her performance. Németh & Hess did a strong performance of rhythmic looping drum patterns. Unfortunately, their set didn't have any visuals, which seems a shame. Why not utilize the performance environment by supplying visuals; I'm sure a lot of visual artists would die for a chance to have their creativity on a big screen. Rechenzentrum was brilliant and delivered a gorgeous orchestral drone set with tranquil watery imagery that broke into a moment of some shuffle beats and then dispersed back into orchestral filmic textures.

Ben Frost at A\Visions 3 did a guitar feedback show that was way too noisy for my taste. At one point, I plugged my ears as one of his tracks sounded like an alarm going off for about 10 minutes. It was so piecing and unpleasant, I thought it was never going to end. Tim Hecker's set was delivered in complete darkness; his music is always a treat. He delivered white noise hums, tinkling synths and loopy knotty guitar rhythms. Christian Fennesz, one of main attractions for me at Mutek was good, but I expected more. Endless Summer being such an influential album for me, I guess I had too high of expectations for one of my favourite artists.

The first Metropolis Nocturne event was all about Modeselektor. Modeselektor were the mega-super stars of the festival playing to an overly packed house on the first huge party night. Their music is not my thing but I was amused by the spectacle. They had the crowd worked into frenzy with what appeared to be 5 false endings. The true highlight for me that night was Half Hawaii in the Savoy room. I love Bruno Pronsato's music, with his quirky funky minimal dance sounds. He was the first artist to make me dance at Mutek this year. I could have heard more from him that night.

Nocturne 4, the 2nd night at Metropolis was an interesting mix of hard banging techno to textured grooving dub sounds in the Savoy room. I'm a minimal techno head, but that night the dub sounds coming from the Savoy room had all my attention. Kode 9 delivered some of the deepest low grooving base sounds with spastic and entertaining Space Ape on the mic. DJ Olive kept the room grooving to some fine delicious dub textures and after a long night there was no better place to be than listening to Deadbeat close it off with his percussive touches, sub-frequency wobbles and low-end transmissions that bring you so low you're dancing with the earth worms.

The main room at Nocturne 4 was mostly disappointing minus Mossa's tech-house dance set. The Field was The Field, if you liked their album you would have enjoyed their set, but to me it's early 90's rave music that seems to be most popular with the indie rock kids. Danton Eeprom, who was completely new to me was up and down. Radio Slave had his moments but most of it was too bangy for me, the Savoy dub room definitely won my heart that night.

Other highlights worth getting a shout out this year were Sleeparchive at Nocturne 2 and Barem who played an amazing quality minimal techno set at Experince 2.

And last but not least, the final rainy day Electronic Piknic in the park. According to the Mutek's schedule the Piknic's were suppose to be at the SAT if it rained, but on the final day they held it outside at Parc Jean-Drapeau despite the weather. Sadly, I was under dressed and only lasted 4 hours before the cold got the better of me missing Oner Özer's and Mathias Kaden's tag team set which apparently was the highlight of the festival, their solo sets weren't too shabby either. Oner Özer's was on my top 10 list last year so I was there right at 2 pm for his opening set, which had everyone dancing to his global influenced tech-sounds. Mathias Kaden was also superb with his staggered glitch explosions. The two Vakant label boys were the perfect feel good party music to an interesting, eclectic and successful festival. I'm looking forward to Mutek's 10th anniversary next year!
more mutek photos/videos
serial consign mutek review

As part of Toronto's Luminato Festival Dan Bergeron (aka fauxreel) is shooting portraits of residents of Toronto's oldest social housing project, Regent Park.

va / 100 / traum

va / round black ghosts / ~scape

ilar + hedvall / melt / narita

3 channels / it’s gettin’ kinda hectic remixes / trapez

roadsworth gallery
sidewalk art found all over Montréal

the radio dept. / freddie and the trojan horse / labrador

oren ambarchi / destinationless desire / touch
pass: fl3xibl3

emanuele errante / humus / somnia
pass: fl3xibl3

grouper / dragging a dead deer up a hill / type
pass: redizork

check out raster noton's may 20th news entry for basic_sounds photographs!