Since it debuted in 2000, Mutek has sat at the center of Montréal’s electronic music scene.

Each year, the festival attracts artists from around the globe, focusing on live experimental music on the fringes of a plethora of electronic subgenres. It’s not just sound either, Mutek’s focus on digital arts encourages A/V performance, and often hosts a number of exciting debuts.

This year, Mutek Montréal’s line up is more diverse and bold than ever, pitting well-known veterans like Tim Hecker and Atom TM against vital new talent such as footwork innovator Jlin, Iranian producer Ash Koosha and the Naafi-associated Siete Catorce.

The following list highlights 10 must-see performances, and you can read the entire schedule and purchase passes over at Mutek’s website.


Mutek 2016 - Ash Koosha

Ash Koosha
NOCTURNE 1 at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
June 1

We were massive fans of Ash Koosha’s spidery 2015 debut GUUD, and he didn’t waste any time at all following it up, dropping I AKA I on Ninja Tune last month. His blend of fractured electronics and decomposed club sounds should be just right for the live stage, and his Mutek performance – a Canadian premiere – will be accompanied by Koosha’s own visuals.

Harnessing innovative VR technology (which he talked about in a recent FACT interview with Miles Bowe), Koosha will trigger imagery and effects using the Oculus Rift, something we reckon will need to be seen to be believed.


Mutek 2016 - Aisha Devi

Aïsha Devi
NOCTURNE 1 at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
June 1

Aïsha Devi’s music is informed by her spirituality and meditation, but don’t for a second assume that it’s simply “new age”. Her debut album Of Matter And Spirit was titled after a book written by her grandfather, a physicist who worked at CERN, and her music takes its cues from across the spectrum, blending them into a soup of fuzzy electronics.

Her Mutek performance will see Devi create alongside visual artist TIANZHUO CHEN, manipulating her voice and working with ideas from Bangladeshi poet Kishwar Naheed. Devi was reportedly a highlight of this year’s CTM in Berlin, so it’s going to be one to mark on the calendar.


Mutek 2016 - Colleen

Colleen
NOCTURNE 3 at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
June 3

While plenty of musicians on this list will have ended up on the live stage almost by accident, crafting music at home or in a studio without considering how it might work in a live environment, Cécile Schott, aka Colleen, is different. She’s always flourished on the stage, and her delicate compositions spring to life there more than they ever could on record.

Schott has been performing for some time now, perfecting her craft and experimenting with different instrumentation – live, she now experiments with a handful of small instruments and, more recently, her voice.


Mutek 2016 - Jlin

Jlin
NOCTURNE 3 at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
June 3

To replicate a genre of music is relatively easy, but to innovate, now that’s where the difficulty really lies. Jerilynn Patton is one of footwork’s key innovators, and her debut album Dark Energy reframed a familiar sound giving it color and texture we’d never previously imagined.

We’ve heard Jlin DJ before, but her live sets are still very much a rarity, which is what makes this appearance so special. Whatever happens, we’re expecting to hear a taste of Jlin’s second album, which is tentatively titled either Black Origami: The Motherboard or Black Origami: The Dark Lotus.


Mutek 2016 - Kara-Lis Coverdale

Kara-Lis Coverdale
NOCTURNE 2 at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
June 2

On last year’s ambient masterpiece Sirens, Canadian composer Kara-Lis Coverdale collaborated with LXV (musician David Sutton) to rustle up one of the best records we heard in 2015. Aftertouches, Coverdale’s solo LP also from last year, was equally as beguiling, showing a talent that was informed by academic practice, but not bound to it by any means.

At least year’s Mutek Montréal, Coverdale’s performance was reported to be one of the festival’s highlights, and she’s not only back to perform once again, but she’s written a brand new live set just for the occasion.


Mutek 2016 - Lee Gamble

Lee Gamble & Dave Gaskarth
NOCTURNE 1 at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
June 1

We shouldn’t need to introduce PAN’s Lee Gamble at this point – his refried techno constructions and ambient jungle nostalgia have kept us busy with the hyperbole for years now. Gamble is bringing his old Birmingham mucker Dave Gaskarth along for the ride this time, who will assist in Foldings, a special project featuring a suite of suitably surreal visuals, using data and imagery from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel Satellite Missions to provide a global experience unlike any other. We would have settled for some old pics of the Bull Ring though, to be honest.


Mutek 2016 - Lorenzo Senni

Lorenzo Senni
NOCTURNE 2 at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
June 2

When Lorenzo Senni decided to pick at the decomposing corpse of European trance back in 2012, the resounding reaction was “why?”. A few years later and everyone’s at it – trance has been re-appraised retroactively, just head over to SoundCloud and find any producer flirting with club forms and you’ll find a throbbing arpeggio conjuring JP8000 Supersaw memories.

His Mutek performance will be Senni’s first time playing in North America, and he’s bringing his Advanced Abstract Trance (AAT) concept to Montréal, an abstract selection of modular synth squelches and live visuals that promises to move the conversation forward rather than languish in nostalgia.


Mutek 2016 - Paul Jebanasam

Paul Jebanasam & Tarik Barri
A/VISIONS 2 at Salle Pierre-Mercure
June 4

Subtext boss Paul Jebanasam amazed earlier this year with Continuum, a dense, noisy collection of textures, tones and sounds that didn’t so much float as they did punch and sear – ambient it ain’t. For his Mutek performance, Jebanasam teams up with visual artist Tarik Barri – best known for collaborating with Thom Yorke and Monolake – who promises to provide “a window into a virtual universe where self-organizing structures emerge and interact according to undiscovered physical laws”. We’re ready.


Mutek 2016 - Peder Mannerfelt

Peder Mannerfelt
NOCTURNE 2 at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, EXPÉRIENCE 3 at Parterre du Quartier des spectacles
June 2, June 4

It’s been a while since Peder Mannerfelt helped craft the sounds behind Fever Ray’s stunning debut album, but since then he’s carved out a niche for himself producing abstract, experimental music, culminating in this year’s Controlling Body, one of our favorite albums so far.

Mannerfelt is playing not once but twice at Mutek this year, and he’s due to bring a selection of music-making machines as well as an exciting visual show for his North American solo debut.


Mutek 2016 - Siete Catorce

Siete Catorce
NOCTURNE 1 at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
June 1

Marco Polo Gutierrez, aka Siete Catorce, operates from Mexico City but grew up in Oakland, California before his family were forced to decamp to Mexico. His innovative fusion of US club sounds and Latin rhythms has seen him drop future-facing material on Cocobass and Naafi among other imprints, and he appears in Montréal as a representative of Mutek’s Mexico City installment.

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