Mutek 2019: Nocturne 5 @ MTelus – August 24, 2019

The big Mutek show every year happens on the Saturday night at MTelus and it goes until 6 am. Music into the wee hours of the morning. Heaven for those who enjoy house, electronic, techno, and the like. Dancing aplenty.

Nocturne 5 was heavy on funk and groove. It all began at 10 pm with Gene Tellem, a Montreal based DJ/producer. She also works as part of the duo, Loose Excursions. Hers is house music infused with plenty of melody, soul and even funk. All she does works towards the goal of making emotions come forth due to the music. This was her first time working a room as big as MTelus and Tellem owned the experience.

Next up was the duo of Nicola Cruz and Fidel Eljuri. Based in Ecuador, Nicola provides the music while Fidel creates the visuals. The sound is Afro-Latin meshed with electronic. Plenty of percussions and sampling result in you feeling like you are at a party somewhere sunny and warm. Electronic world music.

Just a couple of minutes later than the advertised 12:40 am, Jin started her set. Hailing from the Jackson family made famous city of Gary, Indiana, Jin is another DJ who works in a funky world. Different sounding, but funk based. With more of an out of this world sound featuring plenty of whirs, blips and stutters. A jumble of sound which work together to make a complete sound. It totally makes sense that she is a math nut as the music she creates is like a calculus problem. Many different elements which add up to an answer. The result is something which probes into your mind while it moves your body.

The final set I stayed for was one I was really looking forward to. American duo Wajatta is made up of long time DJ John Tejada (born in Austria) and Reggie Watts (born in Germany). Watts is the more recognizable of the two due to his gig as the band leader on The Late Late Show with James Corden. They really set the bar high in regards to their adherance to the night’s theme of funk and groove.

A new duo with only one album release under their belts, despite the fact that both have been around the scene for a number of years. How they are on stage kinda remnds me of Hall and Oates. Watts is the charismatic frontman who provides smooth vocals and interacts with the crowd while Tejada provides most of the sound. It works.

Much of Watts’ vocals have a feeling of improv. Like he is just making things up on the spot. He even made a couple of Mutek and Montreal specific sections in the hour long set. Because his mother is French, Watts speaks the language and spoke a little in French much to the delight of the crowd.

Plenty of loops combined with the funky/soulful backbeats and Watts’ heavy use of falsetto created a sound which took over your body. No matter how you tried to resist it. The dance floor at MTelus was packed and continuously swaying to the beat.

They ended after 2:30 and I left, but the night went on for another couple of hours. There were two more DJs to come. Project Pablo, who is a Vancouver native, but now lives in Montreal, and Call Super from London, but now lives in Berlin.

Musn’t forget that there were visuals to go with all the music. Lights, projections, etc. were provided by a trio of visual artists, Prifma from Argentina and local artists Baja and Bunbun.

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