Despite the gray skies and cold temperatures fans of music and more specifically electronic music came out in droves for the different shows on day four of Mutek.
I started off by heading over to SAT (Société des Arts Technologiques) for A/Visions 4 which had as its theme Live Wires. The final A/Visions show is all about experimentation, less of a focus on visuals, evoking a more visceral reaction and listening to the music created for you in a basically dark room.
I missed the first two performers, Vladislav Delay and CM Von Hausswolff, but got there to catch the end of Canadian Tim Heckler's show. Tim Heckler is someone that Montreal electronic fans know very well as he has been around for a number of years. Through his ambient music sets, he is able to make the intimidating aspects of "art", "classical" and "avant-garde" more accessible to music fans. You can get into it even if you are a casual fan.
Distortion played a large part of Heckler's set. He created this distortion through reverbs and then looped it. The sounds created formed a dense layer of music that is surprisingly (due to all the above mentioned reasons) melodic. Dark and dramatic stuff. To compliment the dark tone of the music, Heckler performed his 35 minute set in almost complete darkness with very little back lighting.
Throughout his set I wavered between being "disturbed" by the sounds he created to being moved by them. It was certainly emotional music. At the end of it I was not sure if I liked it or hated it. It was very strange. But the bottom line was that I knew I had seen something that can only be described as innovative, powerful and special.
Next up was Australian Ben Frost. Performing in his bare feet, Frost came to the stage with his guitar around his neck. He is another DJ that creates ambient music. Using his computer which he compliments with his constant guitar playing.
His set started off slowly and continued that way for its entire 45 minutes. It was atmospheric and at times scary with wolves howling at you. This was serious stuff and sounded like a storm was coming. Despite the low tempo the crowd was entranced, craning their necks to get better views of Frost.
I then moved on to Mutek's first outdoor (and free) show happening at the new Place des Festivals right near Place des Arts. On stage was Senor Coconut & His Orchestra. This 9-piece act reminded me a little of what Ricky Ricardo (from "I Love Lucy" fame) and his orchestra would be like if it was still around today.
Dressed in all black suits with a huge LED screen as the backdrop, Senor Coconut, a man of many aliases (Uwe Schmidt is originally from Germany and has performed under the names of Atom, Dr. Mueller and Atom Heart), entertained those who had come despite the cold temperature and drizzly weather with his own style of electrolatino music. The xylophone, sax, trumpet, trombone, drums, bass, and bongos were accompanied by a man behind a laptop. The interesting marriage of electronic and Latin instrumentation. It created a total party atmosphere.
The show was dubbed "Around the World" and despite the constant Latino beats it truly was a show of international music. Besides some Latino songs, Senor Coconut also got a large portion of the crowd grooving with his unique covers of pop hits like Sade's "Smooth Operator", Prince's "Kiss", Daft Punk's "Around the World", and The Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams". These famous songs were mixed with Mambo, Samba or Cha-Cha-Cha beats. For instance the international 80s hit, "Da Da Da" originally recorded by German act Trio, was a perfect match for the rhythms of a cha-cha-cha. To be honest despite the cold and miserable weather it was hard not to move to the music.
Today is the last chance for you to attend some Mutek shows like Piknic 2 – Be Like the Sun at Parc Jean Drapeau and Nocturne5 at SAT. End off your Mutek 2010 experience with these two much anticipated shows.
Photos by Maha Haddad