by Amanda Harvey
Montreal summers attract a sudden swell of out-of-towners, with outdoor events and festivals plentiful in a city so loyal to its arts and culture scene.
Mutek, the international festival of digital creativity and electronic music, kicks off festival season and invites a warm energy into the downtown core today. Hosted by unorthodox venues like the Museum of Contemporary Art, Mutek brings artists and musicians from around the world who collaborate to display the harmony between sound and image, movement and stasis, body and emotion. Taking place over 5 days, the festival introduces a range of workshops to the amateur and novice alike as well as showcasing a neatly curated collection of electronic music that moves from minimal techno to industrial to psychedelic to house.
The festival marries technology and music in an attempt to expose the tight-knit relationship between the two. High lightening some female-identified performers in the scene, the festival has brought Nepalese-Tibetan Swiss born Aisha Davis, a politically driven artist who uses her vocals to evoke the rituals of her heritage. Russian born Dasha Rush plays twice during the 5-day feat, as her mix of poetry, down-tempo techno and field recordings should be experienced once at least. Montreal’s own Kara-Lis Coverdale has been making waves the past few years with her sensorial portraits that combine droning echo’s and heavy bass tones with soft piano.
Blue Hawaii and Project Pablo are some alternate examples of homegrown talent. Both artists have found their groove both internationally and in Canada, with a chilled out Montreal vibe that is expressed by disparate means. From other areas of the country are Orphx, a dark and moody due, as well as Nautiluss, keeping crowds mellow with his melodic house.
International talent is also in abundance, Lee Gamble and Powell hail from the UK. Both explore the parameters of techno; honing in from different angles. Machinedrum visits us from the States with his ready-to-wear beats made for moving. Mortiz Von Oswald visits from Berlin, a pillar of German Techno.
Mutek takes place from June 1-5th and the festivals visionary methodology is meant to strike interest in almost anyone by encouraging creativity and interaction through active discovery, through movement, through listening.