Took a break on Thursday and came back for the Nocturne series, boasting the Canadian Premiere of many artists such as Actress, Jacek Sienkiewicz, Demdike Stare as well as the Bug’s Kevin Martin a.k.a. King Midas Sound, Ikonika and many others. Tonight was going to be a night of techno and dubstep. Two genres that are normally never put together but this is Mutek! Variety is key. The night was going to be filled with dancing, staring, and holding our hearts because the bass might just rip it out…I was very, very excited.

After having been blown away by the A/Visions two days ago, I expected the same level of performance from the Nocturne series but was sadly mistaken. It was between two venues, Club Soda and le S.A.T. which both have decent sound but the latter especially sometimes is just overkill on the bass to the point where it just painful hearing the music. I and some friends were constantly switching between the two venues because the artist simply did not keep us there long enough to see an entire set. I did see the whole sets of Orphyx, who played semi industrial techno and overall it was a decent set but it didn’t impress me. I was excited for King Midas Sound and the beginning was ooooh sooo promising. Hard hitting dubstep that I was waiting to hear all night that were accompanied with some pretty sexy vocals from Hitomi and dub poet Roger Robinson…but after the first 10 minutes it just got bad. A part of it was also due to the sound because it was becoming unbearable even with earplugs in…and also because I felt like he definitely moved away the hypnotic dubstep that was part of the first 10 minutes and into an almost d’n’b techno dub mix. I was disappointed and left to see Jacek Sienkiewicz, who was pretty good. I wanted to catch Ikonika after that but ended up sitting outside, chatting, resting, and smoking instead. I heard it was great but people thought King Midas Sound killed too…eh. The entire night was just disappointing for me. It wasn’t a bad night, I was just expecting more pure dubstep which was what was described under a lot of the artists bios.

So, I was mainly there to see Actress after hearing some pretty sweet tracks on the Mutek site but his live set was, as live sets unsurprisingly are, different than his studio recordings. His set took about 20-30 minutes to get super good, like really fucking good. Very deep bass layers with some IDM and 8-Bit mixed into his tracks that didn’t necessarily build into any climatic point but just kept us there, progressing progressing, then stopping. Not to mention the visuals for the show (well for the whole night, kudos Club Soda! The stage was beautiful) were intense. What I didn’t like about Actress was his complete lack of crowd interaction or even enthusiasm. I wasn’t sure if he was actually happy to be there. Barely glancing at the audience, face covered in a shadow from his hoodie, feet probably not moving more than one inch from their original spots, I wasn’t sure if he was actually happy to be there…and that’s never a good thing. When the artists are into it, music good or bad, you will make the crowd get into it too. The music sold me anyways. The video above is a recording of probably the least interesting song of his set (how was I to know when I pressed start?) but I share with you my favorite song of the night. IT IS SIIIIIIICK! Off of his newest album released in 2009, Splazsh.

MP3: Actress – Maze

Another artist I was suuuuper impressed with was Demdike Stare. Such a pity that I missed 90% of their set. Tidbit from Mutek:

Emerging from the offices of Manchester’s Modern Love in 2009, Demdike Stare’s Miles Whittaker (aka Pendle Coven) and Sean Canty wowed electronic music fans right off the bat with their unique ability to blend disparate ethnic music into one masterful dub-driven journey. Boasting extensive, globetrotting record collections that wander deep into the annals of Turkish, Persian, African and Arabic music, in the studio Whittaker and Canty also aren’t afraid to push northward to Nordic drone and Scandinavian glitch music, often all within the confines of the same track. Their self-titled debut EP and the album “Symbiosis” showcase a duo with an obvious appreciation for vinyl obscurities such as library music and rare pressings, and this year’s “Osmosis” mix furthers that obsession with as a seamless 59-minute excursion through the dustiest of world-weary record crate.

This description is perfect for their studio albums. It is an adventure into the woods created by the diaspora of London and New York..sounds from diverse cultures and influences from a variety of ethnic music. It is super interesting work and I’m surprised they didn’t get put into the A/Visions showcase instead of the Nocturne. Because of that I’m guessing maybe that’s why they changed the style of their show..? Which felt like their LPs on speed basically…much faster, dubbier, more bass, and you can daaaance!!! whereas their studio music is like a soundtrack for your trip on shrooms jajaj. No, really. Anyways, here’s a track off their 2009 release Symbiosis!

MP3: Demdike Stare – Nothing But The Night

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