What is really enjoyable about Mutek is how inclusive it is. If you have never been to a Mutek show you'd be surprised at how wide-ranging its appeal is. As I was standing there…well, okay, bobbing to the beat…I saw a guy with dreadlocks dancing beside me and then a little to his left was a long-haired metalhead with an Iron Maiden shirt on and near to him was a preppy teenage guy with a polo shirt. The rhythmic beats and trance inducing sounds appeals to a wide variety of people who love to dance to the stuff. Electronica is the great unifier. It certainly is a come one come all atmosphere.
The big show of Mutek is Nocturne 4, which happened Saturday night at Metropolis. The crowd in attendance made up of all varieties of people was ready to party and the musical acts did not disappoint. The evening was entitled "One Groove to Dawn" and was to go from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. This was to be a huge night of music and dancing.
When I arrived Chloé from France was halfway through making her Canadian debut. Her electro based techno sounds more like traditional electronica than what I had heard on the previous evening. Switching between her Apple laptop and a microphone, often during her 60-minute set her beats were of the industrial sounding variety. She certainly used repetitive beats in order to try and seduce the crowd. This versatile and talented DJ/producer had the crowd really into her stuff at times, but overall I would have to say there was not much of a connection. It was still cool to see a woman in what is still largely a male domain.
Next up was Montreal's own DJ Mossa. Mossa (Jeremy Petrus) is a classically trained musician and his musicality is steeped in melodic beats. From the first notes he had the crowd whistling, cheering and most importantly dancing. The difference between his set and the one before was a marked one. His infectious sound is created by meshing jazz with techno and house to make music that you cannot help but move your body to. He seemed even swept away by his own music as he was dancing quite a bit himself. Bottom line his music is fun.
As previously promised I ventured out of the big room to check out the action in the smaller, more intimate Savoy. The music in that room was supposed to start up at midnight, but due to technical problems it only got under way after 1 a.m. In the meantime the visual artists were showing clips of films such as Jennifer Lopez's "The Cell" and "The Big Blue" accompanied by atmospheric music.
After the delay the first to take the stage was Kode 9 & Spaceape from the United Kingdom. Kode 9 (a native of Scotland) is a busy, well-respected producer who is probably the biggest dubstep DJ in the UK at the moment. He brought along spoken word vocalist MC Spaceape for this performance. Kode 9 provided the musical background (which sounded very much like the theme music to "Star Wars") to Spaceape's distorted, ambiguous lyrics. Most of the lyrical content seemed to be centered on social and political activism. Spaceape certainly added energy to the set. While a little on the pretentious side, the rhythms certainly are hypnotic.
Back in the main room was Sweden's own contribution to electronica, The Field. The Field is primarily DJ Axel Willner. Coming off one of the more popular mainstream electronic albums of 2007, The Field certainly lived up to their promise. Playing a brand of trance music that is full of emotion, the crowd really connected to it. Adding a live element to the music, the DJ beats were accompanied by a musician who moved from drums to bass. The Field dug a deep groove and stayed in it for the duration of their set.
While this was the last Nocturne there is still more Mutek to be had, people! To wrap things up with a bow, Piknic 2 will be taking place in the great outdoors. Here's to hoping that Mother Nature cooperates and the rain holds off for what promises to be a great party!
-Piknic 2 Location: Jean Drapeau Park (on Ile Ste Helene)
-Piknic 2 Tickets: $10.00 (plus taxes and service charges)
-Piknic 2 Line Up: Onur Özer (Turkey), Ernesto Ferreyra (Canada/Argentina), Mathias Kaden (Germany), Nôze (France)
Photos by Maha Haddad