The 2010 Mutek festival takes place in Montreal on June 2-6, presenting a wealth of cutting edge electronic music ranging from more performance-based work to all-out club action.

There are five strands to festival, the first of which is A/Visions – dedicated, yes, to audio-visual work. On Wednesday 2 June at Monument-National, the series is kicked off by Bernier Messier, [The User] and Baltimore-based Matmos, modern day masters of concrete and creative sampling, under the banner of Pandora’s Music Box. On Thursday 3 June, also at Monument-National, the good folks from The Wire magazine present The Cult of Longer Memories, an evening of hauntological and distressed industrial electronics from Freida Abtan, The Caretaker and Steve Stapleton’s mighty Nurse With Wound. We very strongly urge you to check that one out. A/Visions 3, at the same venue on the following night, is subtitled Sublime Distortion, and features performances from Thierry Gauthier, Pimmon and Marsen Jules Trio + VJ Nicolai Konstantinovic. The final part of A/Visions, Live Wires, happens at SAT on Saturday 5 June, with experimental veterans Vladislav Delay and Carl Michael Von Hausswolff (collaborator with Fennesz, among others) joined by two more recently crowned heroes of the underground, Tim Hecker and Ben Frost. Essential, really.

Mutek’s Nocturne strand is dedicated to more club-oriented sounds, without compromising innovation or artistry, and kicks off at SAT on Wednesday 2 June. There’s a definite Latin vibe to the opening Fiesta Espontanea night, with Chile’s inimitable Matias Aguayo presenting the sounds of his Comeme label with Diegors and Rebolledo, while June 3’s The Radical Connectors brings together the estimable talents of Mouse On Mars, Mossa, Nathan Fake, Jon Hopkins, Hrdvsion, Bowly and Chris Hreno across the Metropolis and Metropolis Savoy venues.

Nurse With Wound

Nocturne 3, Shedding The Past, Dubbing The Future, is a collaboration between FACT and Mutek, and showcases some of the sounds that are synonymous with our magazine. Leading the charge is the masterful Shed, quite possibly FACT’s favourite producer on the planet. The soft-spoken Berliner is one of the most reliable and radical techno producers of the contemporary era, constantly interrogating the very meaning of the word “techno” by drawing on influences from dubstep, hardcore and beyond. Not only as Shed, but as STP, Equalized, WAX and The Panamax Project, Shed has consistently shown himself to be way ahead of the game; expect from his live set a masterclass in dancefloor futurism – emboldened, rather than burdened, by its sure grip of what has come before. Shed will be joined by Actress, who in Splazsh has made one of the year’s most vital and idiosyncratic albums; Ikonika, whose ever-shifting, synth-driven take on dubstep and house has come to define the second flowering of Kode9’s Hyperdub’s label; and King Midas Sound – the live dub posse helmed by The Bug and Roger Robinson. In what will surely be one of the best nights of the festival, there’s room on the line up also for Demdike Stare (esteemed FACT Mixers of last week), Cheap And Deep, Orphx, Jacek Sienkiewicz and Overcast Sound. You do not want to miss this night at any cost.

As the its subtitle – Burning Down The House – suggests, Nocturne 4 is focussed on the power of house. It takes place at the Metropolis and Savoy (Metropolis); Henrik Schwarz, Dixon, Move D, Guillaume Coutu Dumont & The Side Effects are the biggest names on the bill, but expect to be no less entertained and enlightened by a supporting cast numbering Woo + Incredible Bob, Smirk, Konque and Attentat.  It’s back to SAT for the final Nocturne event, which is headlined by two living legends: Theo Parrish will deliver one of his inimitable DJ sets exploring house and techno’s roots in funk, soul and jazz, while Moritz Von Oswald peforms live with Sasu Ripatti and Max Loderbauer as The Moritz Von Oswald Trio. Chris McNamara’s Nospectacle and Brand Brauer Frick round out proceedings.

Theo Parrish

Mutek heads to the great outdoors for its two day-long Piknic events, which take place in Montreal’s huge, rolling Parc Jean-Drapeau Park. On Saturday 5 June, Krill.Minima, Minilogue, DJ Koze and Paul Kalkbrenner provide the soundtrack, while Sunday’s marathon session (Be Like The Sun) features Circus Company’s Dave Aju, Nicolas Jaar, Snork, Xavier Lebuis, San Proper, Kressel, Spooloops and the one and only Pepe Bradock.

Monument National plays host to some of the more experimental Mutek performances and installations, under the banners of Experience and Ectoplasmes3. A wealth of Canadian and international talent has been assembled for these performances, but without doubt the most intriguing prospect if an appearance from Eleh, the anonymous musician whose drone-oriented works are hugely respected in the world of sound-art and outsider music, and whose most recent album for Touch is one of the year’s most formidable. Quite a coup to have him on board, it must be said.

For more information on Mutek, plus tickets, audio and other items of interest, visit the festival’s official site. See you there.



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