10 artists you can’t miss at MUTEK Montréal 2017

Canadian experimental music nexus MUTEK Montréal returns for its 18th year this August.

Each year, MUTEK takes over Montréal to offer locals and visitors the chance to experience the wide world of experimental electronic music, shining a spotlight on developments in its many subgenres, from techno and house to ambient and noise.

This year, the lineup is even more tantalizing than ever as the festival brings in representatives from Germany, Mexico, Japan, Spain, England and New Zealand to document the state of electronic music in 2017. Whether you want to check out Monolake’s influential minimal techno, N.A.A.F.I’s urgent club experiments, Daphne’s dusty house or Graham Dunning’s collection of homemade machinery, there should be something for everyone on offer here.

On top of the usual series of live performances and club shows, the MUTEK will be running a series of conferences, workshops and exhibitions around the city, detailing advances in art and digital media and offering learning experiences for anyone interested in music technology.

FACT has come up with a list of 10 artists you shouldn’t miss this year, but trust us – there’s plenty more where they came from.

For more information about MUTEK Montréal 2017 and tickets, head here.

Aurora Halal
NOCTURNE 4 at Métropolis, presented by Red Bull Music Academy
Aug 25

At this point, Aurora Halal’s hardware-focused live workouts are notorious. Instead of opting to blend a bunch of tracks for her FACT mix in 2015, Halal instead sent us a live recording and it made perfect sense. Her live performances capture the essence of techno – a rugged unpredictability that should serve to remind fondly of an era before tech house playlists and the “sync” button.

Beatrice Dillon
Don’t Assume: NTS Radio on Stage 1 at Édifice WILDER Espace danse
Aug 25

Beatrice Dillon is one of those DJs that’s talked about in hushed tones and for good reason. She doesn’t stick to one style, but neither is she an “eclectic” contrarian, simply digging for abstract tracks to confuse her audience. Rather, she puts together sets that have the complex narrative structure of an HBO show, blending fragments of techno, academic experimental music, global club and much more.

Her productions are equally as breathtaking – as evidenced by last year’s collaboration with Rupert Clervaux, Studies I-XVII For Samplers And Percussion – and at this year’s MUTEK Montréal, Dillon will be both performing live and DJing. We’re in for a treat.

NOCTURNE 3 at Métropolis, presented by Red Bull Music Academy
Aug 24

One of the most important figures in ambient music, Helge Sten, aka Deathprod is enjoying a period of renewed interest in his crucial series of dark ambient albums thanks to this year’s essential vinyl box set. Deathprod live shows are still quite rate, so the chance to hear Sten’s pristine, Lynchian abstractions at high volume is an opportunity not to be missed under any circumstances. Check his unusual FACT mix from earlier this year if you’re still not sure.

Dis Fig
EXPÉRIENCE Berlin at Esplanade de la Place des Arts
Aug 26

An early member of Geng’s PTP collective, Felicia Chen has toured the world performing her noisy, neon-lit club abstractions, blending a plethora of influences into a barely recognizable slop of textures, tones and pneumatic beats. Earlier this year she dropped one of the year’s most exciting mixes for The Astral Plane, so if you fancy hearing blends of Rich The Kid and Lakker or Kelela and Graves, look no further.

NOCTURNE 3 at Métropolis, presented by Red Bull Music Academy
Aug 24

Fis should need no introduction at this point – Oliver Peryman’s jungle-influenced abstractions have shown that it’s possible to make noise without ignoring the soundsystem. This year, the Kiwi drone don collaborated with Mauri sound healer Rob Thorne on one of the most exceptional albums we’ve heard in a while – Clear Stones. At MUTEK Montréal this year, Oliver Peryman will be performing on his own – earplugs will be essential.

Don’t Assume: NTS Radio on Stage 2 at Édifice WILDER Espace danse
Aug 26

Luke Younger has spent the last few years refining his noisy drone compositions, arriving on a distinct sound that combines loping rhythms with dissolving synth textures and barely-discernible samples. His latest release, Trilogy Tapes’ excellent World In Action EP, was proof that he’s unwilling to stay static – this live performance promises to be loud, abrasive and if his last run of North American live shows are anything to go by, deeply satisfying.

Kara-Lis Coverdale
NOCTURNE 6 at Society for Arts and Technology
Aug 27

Kara-Lis Coverdale’s performance at last year’s MUTEK Montréal was one of the festival’s highlights. Her use of synthesizer and organ tones puts her out completely on her own, and if there’s a 12″ more beautiful than Grafts (released earlier this year on Boomkat Editions) in 2017 we’ve yet to hear it. This is truly transformative music and not to be missed.

EXPÉRIENCE Berlin at Esplanade de la Place des Arts
Aug 26

Representing his adopted home of Berlin, experimental club producer and DJ Lotic will be bringing his unique concoction of searing white noise and blistering beats to MUTEK Montréal this year. Anyone who’s seen Lotic play before will give the nod – it’s something to be heard loudly, preferably under cover of darkness.

INTER_CONNECT Berlin at Society for Arts and Technology
Aug 26

French producer Hermione Frank bills her rRoxymore project as a live electronic project, and she’ll be playing a semi-improvised show at MUTEK Montréal this year that should cement her status as one of the most exciting dance acts operating right now. It might be experimental, but Frank never loses the groove.

Sarah Davachi
NOCTURNE 3 at Métropolis, presented by Red Bull Music Academy
Aug 24

Sarah Davachi’s All My Circles Run full-length is quietly one of the year’s best drone records, so it’s an exciting proposition to see a live performance from the modular synth expert. Don’t expect beats, bass and bangers – Davachi’s music is about tiny, incremental changes and should be absorbed like meditation.