It was the kickoff day for Montreal Mutek 2018 and Mother Nature was on board. With off and on rain all day I am sure the organizers were a little worried about their first outdoor event – Experience 1, a free evening of music. Though it was a little cooler than we have become used to our summer nights being, the rain held off.
Held within the newly renovated Quartier des Spectacles or more precisely on the Esplanade of Place des Arts, was an evening of DJ fueled electronic dance music. And trust me, the crowd was dancing, swaying, hopping about or just basically enjoying themselves.
Experience 1 (Experience 2, 3 and 4 will all be taking place in the same location on Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday afternoon until evening) featured Canadian DJ talent as well as French and Swedish. tinycastles, dj dolphin, Willow Bell, and Ben Nevile (whose set I really enjoyed) represented the maple leaf while Ben Vedren was from France and evening closer Ulf Eriksson hails from Sweden. Each DJ had their own style and sound, but all really flowed well together.
Actually a female-male duo, tinycastles is made up of Lyndsie Alguire and Thomas Boucher. They have been performing together since 2015. The sound they create is rather ambient and involves synths, guitar and vocals. It adds up to something that is akin to listening to a symphony. Though rather a modern version of that with all its loops, etc. Creating a set that seemed rather improvised at times it was loose and flowy. Next up was dj dolphin. Born as Michael Lifshitz, his music is a rather intellectual kind of house. This makes total sense when you find out he is a doctor of neuroscience. On the side, he performs around Montreal (you might have seen one of his frequent sets at Korova Bar) pulling in fans of synths, samples and great beats. Willow Bell continued the Canadian theme and is based in Montreal. The tempo definitely rose a notch during his hour long set. His sound is really upbeat almost forcing your body to move in response to it. You do so with pleasure. He manages to make it sunny and edgy sounding at the same time. Weapons of choice include analogue synthesizers, sequences and drum machines. Rounding out my evening (though the music went on for another couple of hours) was Ben Nevile. A no fuss, no muss DJ. Very minimalist in approach and sound. Unassuming on stage, all in black including his baseball cap, the result of his tweaking synth sounds is a rather alluring and timeless music. Evocative and making you want to dance at the same time.
Great start to my Mutek experience!!