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Montreal's Mutek Festival Constructs 'Electronic Music As Contemporary Art'

"You need to trust someone who knows (who is who) to come regularly and guide your trajectory. You're like, "Oh, that looks weird," but anyway, you get to face the music you're listening to.

“When people think of Mutek, they think electronic music, they think DJs, but almost 100 per cent of the performances are live,” says artistic and general director Alain Mongeau, centre, with fellow programmers Marie-Laure Saidani and Vincent Lemieux.
"When people think of Mutek, they think of electronic music. It's a DJ, but almost 100% of the performance is live," says Artistic Director and General Director Alain Mongeau (center), along with fellow programmers Marie-Laure Saidani and Vincent Lemieux. Photo by Allen McInnis /Montreal Gazette

Marie-Laure Saidani likens the Mutek to a leap of faith. Montreal's self-proclaimed 'International Festival of Digital Creativity and Electronic Music' is all about discovery, and perusing the program is more like a walk in the dark than a walk in the park.

"It's a festival where most people don't know [who's performing], but they have to trust us," she says. talked about the event. 23rd Edition, Aug. 23-28, Quartier des spectacles and surroundings Hybrid Incarnation

"People come to Mutec for great performances," says the festival. Saidani, one-third of the programming team for , speaks with Vincent Lemieux and event founder, artistic and general director Alain Mongeau. “You have to trust someone who comes in regularly and guides your trajectory, knows what staff recommends, or what you see on the internet. It seems, but anyway, you get to face the music you're listening to.

Mutek is the exact opposite of his festival Île Soniq, an electronic music festival that captivates the masses in mainstreamMontreal. The festival attracted tens of thousands of spectators to the Jean-Drapeau Park in a matter of weeks. return. Mutek maintains ties to her DJ culture by showcasing many of her house artists and techno her artists, but the sound is more subtle, the aesthetic more sophisticated and the experience always predictable. Leaning on the outside.

"When people think of Mutek, they think of electronic music and DJs," he said. … It may be pedantic, but it's like defending (the idea of) electronic music as contemporary art.

"I don't think it's pedantic," Lemieux interrupted. “So we only feature artists who play live. We look for artists who have an [artistic] process. But that's not what we want to focus on."

"There's nothing against DJs," added Mongeau.

Italian modular synth composer Caterina Barbieri gives an audiovisual performance Aug. 25.
Italian modular her synth composer Caterina Barbieri An audiovisual performance will be held on August 25th. Photo credit: Jim C. Nedd/Mutek

Of his 77 performances at this year's festival, 55 were Quebec premieres, 23 world premieres, and North American premieres. There are 16 artists who will be. With several artists performing live at the festival for the first time, creators are constantly forced to step out of their comfort zone.

"Le Coté Flèche du Festival is important," Mongeau said.

Mutek's program is structured like a journey, he notes, ranging from the more intelligent, experimental or understated offerings of the early days to the crowd-raising ramblings at MTelus1. It has a story arc that stretches over the course of a week. Friday and Saturday.

Among all that, there is a wide range of music, every night, every venue.

"We try not to be too limited to one sound," he says Lemieux. “If you go to a jazz festival, it's not just for jazz bands.There are artists of all kinds who touch jazz. We strive to be as open as possible.”

Mutek, the first to reach its gender equality goal with programming in 2018, will reach it again in 2022, becoming one of Quebec’s few music festivals. will be one.

"This is a core part of our programming," he said.

Among his top picks in this year's lineup is veteran British Deep his techno DJ and geneticist (with a PhD in computational biology) Max Cooper. Tuesday, August 23rd at 9pm MTelus.

"Definitely he will be one of the highlights of the festival," Mongeau said.

He also points to festival and audience favorite Nicola Cruz. The Ecuadorian DJ producer, who mixes traditional Afro-Latin sounds with techno his beats, will perform on Wednesday, August 24th at 9pm. He on the SAT as part of the Nocturne 1 program.

"He has a new live show in Montreal," Mongeau said. "His relationship with music and audience is ever-changing."

Mongeau also recommends his Italian modular synth composer Caterina Barbieri. His hypnotic songs evoke altered states of consciousness. She will have her audiovisual performance on Thursday, August 25th at 9pm. He at MTelus as part of the esoteric Nocturne 2 program.

"That night was a kind of cabaret of an artist experimenting with all kinds of forms. He's electronic," Mongeau said. "This is a good sample of Mutek's left field."

Vocal duo Tarta Lelena 'do Catalanfolk' music that sounds like Gregorian chant," says Mutek programmer Marie-Laure Saidani. Photo credit: Mutek

A highlight of Lemieux's program is the Berlin-based American who dabbles in hip-hop, funk, soul and techno. This is her Afriqua, a pianist, DJ and producer. He will be on stage at MTelus Saturday night/Sunday from 2am to 3:30pm as he closes his set to the Nocturne 4 program (starting at 10pm).

"He's an artist I've been following for a long time, but he's never performed live," he said Lemieux. "He's very versatile. It's interesting to see him evolve. He's very funny, so he's probably a good performer." bill also mentions Welsh minimal techno producer Koreless. "I really liked his [2021] album Agor," he said. "It's kind of cold music, but it's very well structured and very original in terms of composition."

Indonesian electro-punk duo Gabber Modus Operandi are “ultra-punk,” says Mutek programmer Marie-Laure Saidani.
Marie-Laure Saidani, programmer of Indonesian electro-punk duo Gabber Modus Operandi Mutek, Photo by Mutek

Saidani will single out Tarta Relena, a female vocal duo from Catalonia on Friday, August 26th at 10pm. on the SAT as part of the Play 2 program.

"They play Catalan folk music like Gregorian chants," she said. "They put on the best show I've seen in 2021 at the Rewire festival in Holland. For 20 minutes no one moved (in the crowd)." Another must-see show is Gabber Modus Operandi, an experimental duo from Bali on Saturday, August 27th at 10pm. on the SAT as part of the Play 3 program.

"They put on probably the best show I've seen in my life," Saidani said. "It's super punk. Some people might find it scary.It's like fluid anarchy, a cross between hardcore punk, techno, metal and traditional Indonesian music. Prepare to be blown away.

If open-air electro is your thing, Mutek's Experience Series will take over the Esplanade Tranquil's free outdoor stage on Clark and St. Catherine Streets from August 23-28 from 5-11pm. (6:30pm to 11:00pm on August 23rd) and on August 28th from 2:00pm to 9:30pm, Festival Commander Piknic Électronik.


Mutek takes place August 23-28. For tickets and more information, visitMontreal. mutek. org

tdunlevy@postmedia. com

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