Every year in Montreal, around about the end of May, the call goes out: come forth, and challenge your mind and your senses with the latest advances in technology. Only the brave of heart and the forward of thought will survive, and those who do emerge intact will be changed forever.
Is this some terrifying Event Horizon-esque teleportation experiment? Or is it just the 14th annual MUTEK music festival, beginning Wednesday, May 29th? Frankly, what’s the difference?
Each MUTEK offered something for everyone, but each installment has trucked, more or less, in a different theme: 2011 was the big-name IDM showcase, headlined by legends Amon Tobin and Plastikman, and 2012 was a drone-based wall-of-sound affair featuring dark-ambient warlock Lustmord and hazy sonic sculptor Tim Hecker, amongst others.
2013 continues to push electronic music forward with a bevy of experiments, both sonic and performative, and this year the top names are in techno. Detroit legend Juan Atkins brings his 30-year-career to bear, working with Berlin dance pioneer Moritz von Oswald on the greatly-anticipated Borderland project. From the Detroit scene, as well, comes Underground Resistance collective pioneer Robert Hood. Fans of that scene’s ice-cold robo-vibe will also be pleased by latter-day techno minimalists at MUTEK 2013, including Lauren Halo.
One of the strangest additions to Mutek has to be the upcoming ONE PIG performance, taking place at the fest’s opening Wednesday May 29th at Monument-National. A collaboration between British sonic experimentalist Matthew Herbert and local chef Martin Juneau, the bizarre project is an apparent extension of Herbert’s buzzworthy One Pig album of 2011 (and subsequent 2012 tour). One Pig has a fascinating history. Mutek’s own press describes the latest performance as such:
“On stage, Matthew Herbert will be accompanied by musicians tasked with manipulating an assortment of pig-based sound recordings live. During this time, chef Martin Juneau will – you guessed right – cook a pig!” (Source)
Alienating, avant-garde or simply absurd? At MUTEK, the difference is debatable. Experimental art will always leave some people cold; it’s safe to say Herbert and Juneau aren’t courting the vegan audience.
Whether you’re a pork fan or not, though, there are plenty of delectable treats on the table at MUTEK. Check out the official roster and schedule at MUTEK’s site, ’cause it’s all there, from the West Coast Japanese-American hip-hop of Tokimonsta to the gorgeous piano-haunted elegiac-tronica of Germany’s Nils Frahm. For now, we leave you salivating with a taste of Borderlands — creamy and delicious techno-jazz, served cool. (Write your own joke about the Atkins diet here.)