Despite all the heightened anticipation for the 9th edition of Mutek after attending Nocturne 3 last night at Metropolis I have to say that this is shaping up to be the best year yet. At the end of the night I had my best evening at Mutek in the 4 years I have been attending the festival and that is saying a lot!
The theme of the evening was Beats, Mashes & Remixes and was to showcase some of the most popular producers in electronic music today. Nocturne 3 was all about sampling and fusion. We were given a crash course in what electronic music can be. It was shown to be limitless on this evening.
Unfortunately we arrived after local wünderkid on the turntable Kid Koala completed his scratch session, but there were still plenty of excellent acts and their music to take in. At the stroke of midnight synth crunk magicians Megasoid began their set. They are a local duo comprised of longtime producer Sixtoo and member of the band Wolf Parade, Hadji Bakara. They come to Mutek, after having garnered praise from the likes of Modeselektor, Ghislain Poirier and Daedelus, on a hot streak. Mixing electronica beats with hip hop/rap vocals these two are the real deal! I was pumped from the get go. During their 45-minute set they used such classic hip hop/rap songs as Missy Elliott's huge hit "Get Ur Freak On" (the coolest remix of it I had ever heard!) and Dr. Dre's "Still D.R.E." over synths and drum beats. They mash up songs you know and somehow make them better than the original versions.
Listening to their music is a visceral experience as their music elicits primal reactions due to the heaviness of their bass. At times it felt like their music might bust up the speakers there was so much vibration going on. Incredible! The set was out of this world and had the whole crowd moving. If you have a chance to see these guys do not pass it up or you'll regret it!
After a short break, next up was the highly anticipated Modeselektor from Germany. It was billed as Modeselektor vs. Pfadfinderei (visuals wizard). Though it was their first show together everything worked seamlessly as the light show and visuals was second to none. With such high profile fans as Thom Yorke of Radiohead you knew you would be in for something special and they did not disappoint.
The duo, Gernot Bronsert and Sebastien Szary, were one of the most highly anticipated acts of the entire festival. This was their Canadian debut and Mutek had worked for years to try and get these guys here. Scheduling never allowed for it up until this year. After watching them I have to give thanks! From the moment they appeared behind their laptops the duo had the crowd dancing, screaming, lighting their lighters and cellphones, and clapping their hands. They brought a bottle of vodka to the stage with them and passed out glasses then filled them for some lucky few in the front of the stage. It was to be that type of mutual appreciation set.
Throwing all the usual electronica notions out the window, the duo use dancehall, reggae, ambient, techno, and hip hop beats layered with their own unique rhythms to create a sound that is high energy and begs to be danced to. For 80 minutes the crowd moved and didn't stop. There were even a few brave souls who attempted some crowd surfing. Until the end of their set when they sprayed champagne into the crowd they kept the energy up and the beats crazy. I think those in attendance are counting down the minutes until this duo returns again to Montreal.
We only stayed for a bit of Toronto's knifehandchop's DJ set, but what we heard we liked. He, Billy Pollard, also uses dancehall, pop and hip hop to complement his electronica rhythms. We left figuring we should save some of our energy for the next night.
Because of the high quality of what was happening in the main room I never made it up to the smaller Savoy lounge, but I will make the effort for Nocturne 4. I can tell you that there were lineups to get into the room, though, so that means to me that the music was just as hot there as in the main room.
Those wonderful people behind Mutek promised to bring us a varied and eclectic roster of artists this year and they have certainly remained true to their word. Nocturne 3 was not about 'pure' electronica, but rather all types of dance music. After wiping the sweat and champagne off my brow, I am really looking forward to attending Nocturne 4 (Mutek big all-night show) where the line up looks as intriguing as tonight and you can dance until the break of dawn.
-Tickets for Nocturne 4 @ Metropolis: $35.00 (plus taxes and services charges)
-Show Time: 10:00 p.m. until dawn
-Nocturne 4 Line Up: Noah Pred (Canada), Chloe (France), Mossa (Canada), The Field (Sweden), Danton Eeprom (France), Radio Slave (United Kingdom), Quiet Village (United Kingdom), Kode 9 & Space Ape (United Kingdom), DJ Olive (United States), Deadbeat (Canada), and Offthesky (United States)
Photos by Maha Haddad