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 & FaunShlohmoSalvaNouveau PalaisPaul 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,[1] “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…!

He recently did his debut Essential Mix which you can check out here! His XLR8R mix was also awesome which you can check out here.

MP3: Nicolas Jaar – Marks (Marks and Angles EP, 2010)

MP3: Nicolas Jaar – Colomb (Space is Only Noise, 2011)

MP3: Sneaky Sound System – Big (Nicolas Jaar’s Always By Your Side Remix)


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 StipArtiste SurpriseBenoit & SergioWolf+Lamb Mathew JonsonThe 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.

THE MUTEK 2012 WEEK:

Wednesday, May 30th, to Friday, June 1st

CINECHAMBER: LIVE & PANORAMA SERIES, 1pm to 10pm daily

presented by Recombinant Media Labs

in partnership with the Daniel Langlois Foundation

in association with the International Digital Arts Biennial

in collaboration with Excentris

with the technical support of Derivative.

If you haven’t yet seen Recombinant Media Labs’ CINECHAMBER, which launched its North American premiere last week at Excentris to rave reviews, then consider yourself in for an audio-visual experience unlike anything MUTEK has presented before.

The LIVE series continues tonight (May 29) with a performance by MARSEN JULES, who presents GLAST, at 9pm. Also performing tonight is American producer RROSE. Tickets are $15 (+tx & sc) at Excentris and www.mutek.org.

The PANORAMA series continues every day this week from 1pm to 10pm, with exclusive works by CHRISTIAN FENNESZ, ROBERT HENKE, MARKUS POPP, BIOSPHERE, and numerous others, bringing together some of the most revered names in experimental music for an exclusive limited-run engagement.

EXPERIENCES 1 TO 3: PLACE DE LA PAIX, 5pm

presented by Bande À Part

MUTEK 2012 begins at 5pm tomorrow with the outdoor Experience Series, presented by Bande à Part, a free happy-hour gathering at Place de la paix showcasing the most promising emerging talents from Quebec and across Canada.  From Wednesday to Friday, festivalgoers are invited to convene in the park across from Monument-National, discover new artists, and enjoy the culinary pleasures of the SAT Foodlab.

On Wednesday, audiences will enjoy music from Quebec’s next-generation techno producers, among them CCCLTD’s MICHEL PLAMONDON, Archipel’s JESSE VOLTAIRE, and independent artist MAGNANIME. Thursday looks forward to the province’s latest crop of house-music producers, among them SIMON CALLED PETER, LEBOEUF & LAVIOLETTE, and FEMMINIELLI.  Meanwhile, Friday’s session sets up the weekend in grand style with a spotlight on Canadian talent, featuring Toronto’s ALICIA HUSH, Winnipeg duo TONEPUSHERS, and Vancouver duo LARRY JAMES.

METRO_ARTS 1 to 3: Berri-UQAM Metro, 5pm

presented by STM

MUTEK will also take over the mezzanine-level platform of BERRI-UQAM metro, the hub of all activity in Montreal’s subway system, for MÉTRO_ARTS, which proposes three multifaceted musical interludes during dense rush hour traffic. From Wednesday, May 30 to Friday, June 1st as of 5pm, THE GULF STREAM (May 30), MICHEL PLAMONDON (May 31st), and KENLO (June 1st) will greet in-the-know festivalgoers and unsuspecting commuters with electronic concoctions. These exciting local talents will brace themselves for the inquisitive looks of a bewildered and amused public, as they perform in a most unusual space.

A/VISIONS 1 to 3: Monument-National, 8pm

Come evening, festivalgoers are invited to the first of MUTEK’s central showcases, the A/Visions Series. These three sit-down showcases at Monument-National’s Salle Ludger-Duvernay offer a bold fusion of extraordinary sight and immersive sound from some of the most adventurous international electronic artists at work in the world today.

Wednesday, audiences will be treated to three vastly different interpretations of corroded desert music.  Quebec’s NELLY-EVE RAJOTTE opens the soirée with an ode to the mythical desert landscapes of the Spaghetti Western, followed by the Canadian premiere and third-ever presentation of a new collaboration by two towering figures in ambient-music history, Norway’s BIOSPHERE and Los Angeles’ LUSTMORD, who will present “Trinity”, a work commissioned and premiered by Unsound New York, in partnership with Communikey. The work was conceived and developed in the deserts of New Mexico, where nuclear testing has corrupted the landscape permanently.  Finally, Australia’s ROBIN FOX presents a must-see laser show layered with radioactive evocations.

On Thursday, Suuns frontman and classical composer BEN SHEMIE presents TRANSMISSION 1, a piece composed for two radio stations that will be simulcast on CIBL 101.5 FM and CKUT 90.3 FM, while Berlin’s Jan Jelinek and Andrew Pekler will interpret the works of Cologne electronic-music pioneer URSULA BOGNER, as well as France’s PIERRE BASTIEN and Norway’s ESPEN SOMMER EIDE (of Alog) presenting “Electronic Folkways”, a showcase that sets into motion an orchestra of invented machines.

Friday’s showcase focuses on experimental music’s cinematic influences. Quebec’s LE RÉVÉLATEUR, quickly gaining notoriety in international circles, make their MUTEK debut. Hyperdub boss KODE9 takes a rare turn at live soundtracking with collaborators MFO and MS. HAPTIC in the Unsound-commissioned live audiovisual homage to the classic sci-fi film “La Jetée” by French director Chris Marker. Meanwhile, Vex’d producer ROLY PORTER entertains the darker timbres of his experimental side.

NOCTURNES Pre to 3: SAT * Metropolis, 10pm

Following the sit-down A/Visions showcases, audiences are invited to the festival’s large headline events that bring together global transmissions from the ever-evolving worlds of electronic nightlife.

Wednesday evening begins with our Pre Nocturne event at the Metropolis’ Savoy Room, featuring two well-honed practitioners of Canada’s bass and techno scenes – PRISON GARDE and ARTHUR OSKAN.  The evening is rounded out by one of the winners of the Roland synth contest, MELODULE.

On Wednesday night, the festival kicks into high gear in collaboration with at the SAT, with a spotlight on the strong song-oriented elements currently at work across electronic genres.  Montreal duo DKMD, featuring veteran producer David Kristian and vocalist Marie Davidson, infuse icy pop structures into a Moroder-likening Italo-disco reinvention.  New York duo BLONDES draw an indie-rock mentality into their version of hypnotic house music.  Meanwhile festival favourite APPARAT, who thrilled crowds as part of Moderat in 2009, returns with his new live band to present songs from his recent Mute album, The Devil’s Walk.

Thursday night sees the festival move to the Metropolis for a showcase of pioneering and contemporary giants from the world of dub-infused techno.  Presented by Fact Magazine in association with Pop Montreal, the stage kicks off with a rare North American appearance by British electronic visionary SHACKLETON. Following his critically lauded 2009 presentation of the 64-balloon matrix ATOM, longtime festival veteran MONOLAKE returns this year to present his new audio-visual production of Ghosts, his latest album, in surround sound. The night culminates with Detroit legend JEFF MILLS, touching down in Montreal for his first-ever MUTEK appearance with a unique live presentation of “The Messenger / Sleeperwakes”.

Friday night’s Metropolis stage is jam-packed with five younger artists who are all changing the nature of club-oriented music through their subtle infusion of an intellectual dimension. The night begins with the return of Toronto producer MATT THIBIDEAU, who leads into the Canadian debut of Denmark’s RUMPISTOL, appearing at the festival with LA-based vocalist RED BARON. American Wolf+Lamb producer DENIZ KURTEL is one of many young women challenging the dynamic of electronic-music production in new and exciting ways.  She’s followed by the critical and popular success story that is NICOLAS JAAR, who returns to MUTEK with a three-piece band.  Meanwhile, Detroit’s JIMMY EDGAR shows up with his LED show Magenta.

RED BULL MUSIC ACADEMY Stage: SAT (as part of Nocturnes 2 & 3), 10pm

presented by Red Bull Music Academy

in collaboration with the SAT

As part of the same ticket purchased for Nocturnes 2 and 3, festivalgoers will also be able to take in two showcases at the SAT just down the street, dedicated to an inspiring mix of established international acts and graduates of the RED BULL MUSIC ACADEMY.

On Thursday night, the emphasis is placed squarely on bass and hip-hop permutations, with Montreal duo SIBIAN & FAUN kickstarting a stage that also features the breakbeat permutations of American producers SHLOHMO and SALVA.  Montrealers should be looking forward to NOUVEAU PALAIS, a supergroup of sorts featuring onetime local Robert Squire (Sixtoo, Megasoid, Prison Garde), as well as Lunice and Ango. The trio will be using the occasion to launch their debut album. The soirée ends with the unique talents of UK hip-hop producer PAUL WHITE, whose prolific take of beat production has turned many heads in recent years.

Meanwhile, Friday night’s installment turns to the sweaty love triangle between bass, house, and techno.  Belgium’s SENDAI (featuring Peter Van Hoesen) mark their Canadian debut with deep and dark compositions, setting the stage for Toronto producer NAUTILUSS.  Prolific British producer BNJMN, coming off a very strong 2011, makes his MUTEK debut, followed by KODE9 on the decks.

PLAY Series 1 to 3: Studio Hydro Quebec, 10pm

For those with more experimental inclinations, MUTEK offers the Play Series as a late-night digestif, a free showcase dedicated to the avant-garde creativity of Quebec’s long and storied electronic-arts circles, features explorations into the province’s electro-acoustic, musique concrète, noise, and ambient scenes.

Wednesday showcases new works by K.A.N.T.N.A.G.A.N.O. and ESPRITS FRAPPEURS, while Thursday night spotlights a new collaboration by MARTIN TÉTREAULT and NANCY TOBIN, entitled TÉTO, as well as new works by MACHEEN and Meat Parade side-project MORT.  On Friday night, the festival and Fatboy present PECORA PECORA, ATHEUS, and THE GULF STREAM & VJ MA”.

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