Montreal’s 15th MUTEK steamrolls along at venues throughout Montreal! While plenty of great acts have come and gone, many hold their breaths awaiting the return of Chilean-American experimentalist Nicolas Jaar.
Jaar became something of a regular at MUTEK, changing up his style with each appearance. Whether remixing Marvin Gaye tracks or weepy film scores for a John Lennon memorial tributes, or collaborating with fellow NYer Dave Harrington as duo Darkside, restless experimentation marks all Jarre’s output: extended improvised synth passages, chopped and screwed samples from a full century of recorded music, and the hazy rumblings of textured live instruments like saxophones and Mellotrons. All this typically set to leisurely beats that have more in common with DJ Krush than with Jaar’s techno forefathers.
Not that Jaar can’t also wield that high-tempo torch. His ability to set dance floors alight isn’t unlike fellow Chilean Ricardo Villalobos (the techno elder statesman who incidentally, played Thursday at MUTEK). Check out one of Jaar’s club banger sets for proof. Is there anything he can’t do? (Besides sing — he sounds like a dying emu. Sorry, bud.)
This all opens the question of which Nicolas Jaar we’ll be seeing at MUTEK, and that bring us to “From Scratch”. This is the name for Jaar’s massively decompressed soundscape exploration series, which began in 2012 with a five-hour set at the MoMA in New York. In From Scratch, Jaar tirelessly commands the full spectrum of the digital environment while live instrumentalists come and go, weaving an emergent jam-band tapestry of sound that Phish never imagined in their smokiest reveries.
A set this long guarantees the complete range of vibes and sounds, and may even outlast the mushroom trip you arrive on. Joining Jaar is a wide-ranging roster of live virtuosos: Tarik Barri, Vance Galloway, Will Epstein, Sasha Spielberg and Lizzie Feidelson — some of whom have featured at other From Scratch shows (see the video below). No Harrington, it seems, for those hoping for a Darkside reprise.
Traditionally, MUTEK guests have tended toward the cerebral, but as Jaar represents a main stage finale, we expect the beats to bring the house down. Check out Jaar’s MoMA work uniting samples, sax and songstress to prepare yourself for the grand finale of MUTEK 2014.
Nicolas Jaar and Guests – FROM SCRATCH
NOCTURNE 5 @ MAC (22h) – $35 + tx & s.c.
Sunday, June 1st