Best Kept Montreal dug deep compiling a MUTEK guide courtesy of festival curator Vincent Lemieux
The 23rd edition of the MUTEK FESTIVAL promises a full range of Electronic Emotions and Digital Sensations! An experiential, urban journey over six days and six nights with more than 80 performances.
This year, the Festival will take place in a variety of locations that are all walking distance from one another: the Society for Arts and Technology [SAT], MTELUS and the Place des Arts’ Théâtre Maisonneuve with the new Esplanade Tranquille as its epicenter which will be home to the free outdoor stage.
At each destination, a unique sensory experience awaits spectators of all ages and backgrounds, who will navigate through a multitude of soundscapes and fascinating visual worlds. In total, more than 100 artists from 21 countries will share their passion for electronic music and digital arts through a panorama of contemporary creativity.
The festival also offers conferences, panels, workshops, and master classes that provide a unique look at artificial intelligence, XR creations, blockchain, and other topics related to the most innovative of artistic practices.
To get an inside look at this Montreal institution I interviewed the festival’s co-musical programmer Vincent Lemieux. For over 20 years he has worked at Mutek. He is also a DJ, Producer and co-founder with Marc Leclair AKA Akufen of the record label Musique Risquée.
1) How did you get involved with Mutek? For how many years have you worked there? What is your role?
I started working for MUTEK in 2000. Back then I was working in record shop called Rotation where Alain Mongeau (the festival’s founder) was buying records. We became friends and after the first year of the festival he invited me to join the programming team with him and Eric Mattson. Since the beginning that was my main involvement in the festival. Apart from also being an artist who performed a couple of times.
2) Mutek has become a massive international success with satellite festivals in Spain, Mexico, Argentina etc. Tell me a bit about these initiatives and what is coming up in the next year internationally.
3) Your role is to program the festival, selecting the artists who will perform. Therefore you are the ideal person to ask what are the top 5 musical performances that are not to be missed at this year’s edition of the festival!
It’s difficult in my case to highlight only 5 but here are some of the performances I’m really looking forward to:
Both projects are from the veteran Luke Slater, one of the few techno artists I’ve been following for more than 20 years. L.B. Dub Corp combines classic Chicago House with Dub Reggae. Planetary Assault System is hypnotic, soulful, psychedelic funky Techno.
DAUWD / AFRIQUA:
I selected these two artists to perform one after the other. Both are discoveries I made in the last few years. I contacted them directly to ask them to play live since they usually perform as DJ’s. Dauwd produces ambient, house and techno and has had releases on popular labels like Kompakt and the Ninja Tune sub label Technicolor. Whereas Afriqua produces house, minimal and techno and has releases on labels like Soul Clap.
NIK COLK VOID
One of the member of the band Factory Floor, she released her first solo album last year. Her performance revolves around modular synths. Her music is a blend of experimental noise and techno.
The second performance of the artist Loraine James (she will also play under her own name on Saturday). She creates deep and dreamy ambient music.
She is a Catalan artist I saw at MUTEK Barcelona last march. She is a talented pianist with a beautiful voice and an amazing band to support her music.
4) In your 22 years at MUTEK what is your proudest achievement? What were the most mind blowing performances? And what was the most hilarious disaster?
I’m proud to have been part of the development of the electronic music and digital art scene in Montreal and around the world with MUTEK. Helping artists achieve their goals and supporting them throughout their career. My mind is blown almost every year, but the most memorable performances are the ones where there’s a communion between the artist and the audience. And luckily we have the best crowd in Montreal! One of the funniest moments was a party we did on Monday morning at Parc Jeanne-Mance with only one speaker and 2 turntables with Ricardo Villalobos and Richie Hawtin. It was epic.
5) MUTEK has built an amazing reputation for also presenting cutting edge video performances like the world premiere of Amon Tobin’s ISAM. What are the not to be missed video artists this year?
For exciting audio visual performances we have the series called A/Vision that will take place at Théatre Maisonneuve on Friday and Saturday. It’s our signature program where the focus is on the cutting edge interaction of sound and image.
6) Please tell us about some of your musical projects. You are a DJ, producer and play in a few bands. Any releases and gigs coming up?
I DJ and produce under my own name Vincent Lemieux. I’m working really hard on my project Flabbergast with Guillaume Coutu Dumont. We often perform together. We are starting a record label together and finishing an album we’ve been working on for a couple of years. I also have another project with Ohm Hourani called Wetsuit. We have a release planned for next year.
Thanks Vincent for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with us!
In closing here are my top 5 picks of performances by local artists that are not to be missed !
In terms of musical performances, my top picks are:
FLANDEZ : Live set of IDM, Bass, Techno, Mininal
ICKY MAGDALA : Live set of House, Drum n Bass, Jungle, Acid, Hip Hop
MAGNANIME : Live set of Minimal, House, Musique Concrète
PERSONAL DEMONS : Tag team vinyl DJ set of house disco techno breaks by Cristobal Urbina and Ben Nevile
THE MUGZY & MAAM SHOW : Live electronic music performed by puppets from outer space!
In terms of video artists, my selections are :
As well every night of the festival there is an immersive show in the Dome at the SAT the looks incredible! This double program includes L’alter-Monde, a film by Sandrine Deumier and Myriam Bleau, and Trial, a performance by CLAUDE and Shin Hyejin.
The MUTEK Festival runs from Tue, Aug 23 until– Sun, Aug 28.
For more info please consult the following links :
Into contemporary art? Canada’s top artist works will be on display at PAPIER this week. For more information click here.
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