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Oweeeeeeeeee! I’ve missed the past two springs & summers here in Montréal and I truly am so grateful to be back for such a special time of year! I am SO excited for this years MUTEK to begin officially begin! MUTEK is an incredible four day electronic music and digital art festival that showcases some of the most exciting up and coming electronic music producers, underground and local talents, old school pioneers of the game, and outside of the box visual arts designers who will blow your mind! With various showcases designed to open up your mind and ears, you can get a taste of electronic music’s palette ranging from experimental, minimal, ambient to deep/tech/disco house, funky 8bit IDM beats, future bass, and dubstep (REAL dubstep. not the brostep Skrillex shit, y’all).
I’ll try to cover the festival the best I can but for now I will leave you with my most anticipated shows and what you MUST SEE if you don’t have a full festival pass and can’t afford or go to all of the shows. Detailed reviews and more goodies will come soon as the festival progresses!
What I’m super excited for:
1. May 31st – Nocturne 2: Red Bull Music Academy; Shlohmo and Salva!
Any artist coming out of the Red Bull Music Academy roster is going to special. If RBMA stages and sponsorships have not impressed you before at other festivals, be SURE to go to this one. Silkie literally destroyed Forward Festival in DC and my face has never been the same. RBMA gives a chance to rising music producers to unleash their creativity with the best equipment possible. For this Nocturne 2 RBMA showcase, Sibian & Faun ♦ Shlohmo ♦ Salva ♦ Nouveau Palais ♦ Paul White Live are going to grace the stage…but I’mma talk about who I’m most stoked about.
Henry Laufer! Or better known as Shlohmo is an L.A. native rising star off of the Friends of Friends record label which also hosts similar up and coming artists in the L.A. beat scene such Salva and Groundislava. At 14, he started experimenting and making beats but didn’t really start taking it seriously until 17. Now, at 21 years, he has released many LPs, EPs, remixes, and has made many mixes for prominent podcasts such as FACT and XLR8R. His sound is a plethora of hip-hop, trip-hop, dubstep, lo-fi, and ambient. Psychedelic space journey reminiscent of Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing, and even Balam Acab? Oh, yeah!
Check out his fantastic XLR8R podcast mix to get a taste…and also the Mp3′s below!
MP3: Shlohmo – Blankets (Shlo-Fi EP 2009)
MP3: Shlohmo – Sink (Bad Vibes, 2011)
MP3: Shlohmo – Parties (Bad Vibes, 2011)
Alongside Shlohmo, Salva who is also part of Friends of Friends label and the SF renowned Frite Nite crew will also be rocking out at this Nocturne 2 event. I saw him perform recently at the Foward Festival in DC with his Frite Nite homies, B. Bravo and Teeko and they created the biggest stir on the dance floor in the loft with some of the nastiest beats, gansta remixes, and funk that made my homeboy and I go, “DAAAAYUM THAT IS SOOO FUUNKAAY!”. Real effin’ funk ya dig. But for real, another talented future bass beat music maker, Chicago raised and based in L.A., Salva gets the feet twisters and shoulder poppin’ dancers going with his vintage house Detroit techno bass face funky grooves. Hint of Hip-Hop and climactic instrumentals Dan Deacon styles almost, he’s the epitomy of what beat makers are today and an example of why the beat scene is gaining more and more attention. Pan-genre at it’s finest. Mixing and mashing all styles it has no name it’s just awesome!
MP3: Salva – 40 Karats ft. Zackey Force Funk (Complex Housing, 2011)
MP3: Salva – Obsession (feat. B. Bravo) (Yellowbone EP, 2011)
2. June 01: Nocturne 3 – Nicolaas Jaar and Deniz Kurtel!
Do I really have to introduce this guy? Like the year Maya Jane Coles had last year, Nicolas Jaar has had a whirlwind of a year. Like many electronic music producers, Jaar started young at the age of 14. He was born in NY, relocated to Santiago Chile, then moved back to NY six years later. At 17, he already released a debut EP, The Student on the Wolf and Lamb label (whoa)! At 18, he was already playing in Berlin, Brooklyn and the Mutek in Mexico City. All this while studying at Brown University! Now, at 21, he has successfully launched his own record label with Noah Kraft, Clown and Sunset, which already has released some incredible productions like Prism with much more anticipated records to come.
He loves to sample quotes from speeches, movies, tv shows, samples from other samples, samples from other tunes…his compositions generally stay below 100 BPM which is lower than the house/techno standards of 130 BPM. He says, “I’m going to keep taking the beats even slower,” he says in an interview with Resident Advisor, “More unintentional things happen between the beats.” Super interesting, creative, and almost yogi spiritual like finding the peace between the breath, you find these “unintentional things” exist and are true when you listen to his various EPs and LPs (released off of Circus Company, Wolf and Lamb, and Clown and Sunset). Not all his music makes you dance but it keeps your attention, it’s emotionally intelligent and mindfully aware. It’s music and it’s Art. Hear and see it for yourself! Check out his amazing debut album Space is Only Noise! A show not to be missed…!
MP3: Nicolas Jaar – Marks (Marks and Angles EP, 2010)
MP3: Nicolas Jaar – Colomb (Space is Only Noise, 2011)
Deniz Kurtel made her deep/tech house LP debut last year with good reviews. Her single “The L Word” graced many DJ sets and her art work (she uses LED lights, mirrors, and sculptures to create interactive art pieces) continues to be admired at countless Wolf and Lamb parties. Kurtel has a Turkish background, had intensive classical piano training, and was constantly exposed to art by her mother. Her real passion for art especially grew with her studies in USA. Being a part of the electronic scene in NY, she eventually made her way to the famous Morgan and Marcy Hotel parties in Brooklyn where Wolf and Lamb host many parties and met Gadi (one half of Wolf and Lamb)…who eventually helped her DJing and producing skills…clearly evident in her debut album Music Watching Over Me (2011).
3. June 02: Nocturne 4 – A Guy Called Gerald
GANSTA TECH IN THE HOUSE. Check out the amazing mix that A Guy Called Gerald made for Mutek on XLR8R:
This week, the 2012 edition of the annual MUTEK festival will be getting underway in Montreal. Consistently presenting some of the most forward—not to mention best—assortments of electronic and experimental artists, it comes as little surprise that this year’s lineup includes an intriguing array of acts, from up-and-coming locals to widely influential legends. One of those legends happens to be UK producer A Guy Called Gerald (a.k.a. Gerald Simpson), who’s put together an exclusive mix to commemorate the impending kickoff of this year’s MUTEK festivities. Over the past 25 years, Simpson has been at the forefront of numerous electronic movements, from his early acid-house days (which included a stint in pioneering outfit 808 State) to later planting the seeds for what would eventually become jungle and drum & bass. These days, he’s located in Berlin and has musically gravitated back toward techno, most recently turning out a variant of the sound he’s dubbed “gangsta tech.” Here, he’s assembled an hour-long session that’s both tasteful and experimental—two words that are often used to describe MUTEK.
4. June 03: Piknik Elektronik – The Mole, Benoit & Sergio, Wolf + Lamb
WOW. Piknikis one of Montreal’s greatest attributes. Set on an island overlooking the city and gracing the presence of a gorgeous sunset, you can bring your family, and friends with your picnic and enjoy a fabulous day of reconnecting and dancing all afternoon and night. It is one of my favorite events of all time and this lineup (Valentin Stip ♦ Artiste Surprise ♦ Benoit & Sergio ♦ Wolf+Lamb ♦ Mathew Jonson ♦ The Mole) is just to die for! House, funk, techno, and soul all in one place with these incredible artists. See you there
5. ANY of the A/Visions series. Check out my previous coverage of them here to better get a glimpse at just how incredible this series is.
6. Any of the FREE series! Mutek is quite an expensive festival but there are some shows that won’t hurt your wallet and will give you a taste of what the scene is about! Check out Alicia Hush on June 1st!
Those are my recommendations! Come back for reviews later. Stay safe, have fun, and drink plenty of water! See you on the dance floor
To check out all the events, click the link below to get better descriptions courtesy of Mutek or go to the Mutek website.