I know that it may not always be super thrilling for you to read about my past or future musical adventures, but with the upcoming MUTEK festival just a few days away, I can’t help but share my excitement. Last year’s A/VISIONS left me breathless with showcases by Robert Henke and his most impressive audiovisual laser performance, titled Lumière. Using three perfectly synced lasers to his very own programmed Max/MSP modules, Henke controlled the structures in real-time, which have left me mind-warped, to the point where I could not speak for about an hour after the show. When one thinks about the “next level” of anything, I walked away from this showcase keenly aware that I have witnessed the next level of “it”.
The very next day, just when my exposure to audio visuals was coming to its saturated climax, Paul Prudence has absolutely knocked me off my balance with his Cyclotone, taking “conceptual cues from cyclotrons and particle accelerators and alludes to aspects of particle physics, space exploration and 4-dimensional space.” I was absolutely mesmerized by the hypnotic visual architecture, drawing me deep into the vortex of light and sound, the event horizon of which I could never escape. I’ve seen plenty of generative video environments before, but this was, once again, a showcase of the future, for which I am indebted to MUTEK.
These visual stimulations were acutely accented only further by their sonic counterparts from performances by Audion (that’s Matthew Dear), Max Cooper, and Voices From The Lake. My over-the-top experiential catalyst was only slightly dampened by the warm dub waves from the sounds by Segue, Fluxion and Pinch, performing at the peak of the festival, on Saturday night, topping off the very last night with a Nicolas Jaar presenting From Scratch, playing a five-hour continuous, entirely improvised piece. And so, these recollections of the last year get me super hyped up for all the amazing art and music to come next week, during MUTEK‘s 16th edition, in Montreal.
This year’s highlights include performances by Andy Stott, Lucy, Rival Consoles, Kiasmos, James Holden, Mika Vainio, Richard Devine, Dasha Rush, Strategy, John Tejada, Millie & Andrea, Atom™, Pole & MFO, Kode9 and many others among more than 80 live performances from 110 artists. Additional special projects include AUDINT, a multi-sensory environment by Steve Goodman (Kode9) and Toby Heys, that features “bespoke subwoofers, directional utlrasonic speakers, and wearable Subpacs“. I’m also seriously considering attending Digital Delicacies, a benefit event “mixing fine cuisine with an exceptional digital mise en scene“, with funds donated directly to benefit MUTEK’s local and international activities. That, and many other daytime Q&A panels, workshops and installations make up my annual pilgrimage to my favorite Quebec city. I hope to see you there!
Words by HC