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Mutek 20 – A Montreal Tradition and a Legacy

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Mutek 20 – Echoing through Montreal’s underground for two decades now, Mutek 2019 marked the 20th editions of the Audio/visual Festival that now tours across Mexico, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Barcelona, San Francisco and Dubai. The ‘’experiences-based’’ festival focus on electronic music and digital arts on the edge of todays culture – offering diversity in genre, style and most importantly sensation. Every year since it’s creation it has been hosting world’s premieres performance and acts that redefine the genres and push it’s boundaries to question themselves.

This Mutek 20 was no exception. In fact it probably never celebrated it as much or in better ways – Staying true to the classic while growing their territory and horizon even wider within Montreal’s epicentre. It’s an understatement to say that Mutek played an important role in Montreal’s electronic scene through the years and  it’s not overstating when I praise Mutek for the reputation it gave us world-wide.

When buying the festival passes, any Mutek’er  should be ready to explore and do a bit of homework to figure out where and when to be. The electronic and digital arts doesn’t just concentrate into one location, or exposes its talents in broad daylights.. it’s underground, hidden in multiple dark cool spot, late and simultaneously. It might be niche, a bit hard to figure out at time and impossible to fully discover…..but the amount of things you’ll encounter that will have more than enough energy and power to strike you beyond short-therm memory is what makes Mutek, the world class festival that it is.

The Montreal-based festival is also a incredible platform for diffusion and promotion of digital arts, music and technology. It as become the hotspot of sharing and networking in the fields. Every Years, Five days of workshops of all subject run non-stop from early morning to the networking cocktails hours. With showrooms showcasing the finest hi-tech console, MIDI and instruments, Mutek has been a major promoter, influencer and a great resources for all of Montreal artist’s.

It’s hard to explain how wide, how refined and how satisfyingly strange Mutek legacy is… so here is our Best Coup-De-Coeurs from Mutek 20

First heart pieces goes to the Free Mutek 20 ‘’ EXPERIENCES’’ at Place des Arts’’ that instantly melted my heart when I walked-in. On the very first night, peoples were already dancing bare feet in the surrounding water installations of the esplanade near the stage. The weather and the crowd blessed the only outdoor stage of the festival for all of the remaining days. It was definitely a place that was worth checking out every night considering the changes in variety and crowd – Especially with fashion festival 3 steps aside.

PY1 – Opening Concert

The impressive  immersion pyramid opened their door for the festival opening ceremony, which was perhaps the most awaited concert. A special show specifically created for the fresh venue – that is, FYI , loaded with some of the finest lights, lasers and projection’s equipments in the world. The opening concert at PYI, signed by Monolake, and Montreal’s artist Diagraf,  was epic and absolutely a piece of the birthday cake that organizer shared with us. The pyramid was also a great way to close the festival with the sunday’s show ”Au-Délà des echos” –  A sit down 360 spectacle that’s definitively worth checking out.

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The new Headquarter : 

This year, setting up it headquarter in the new studios of ‘’Les 7 Doigts ‘’, Mutek made a sweet changes of scenery. The creative space was full every night no matter what event was rotating that night. Offering special live performances of all kind, cocktails and networking events- Anything from music composed exclusively with plastic sound to live hip/hop was proposed and always included innovative  or artistic visuals to mesmerize.

Mutek 20 also added a few new locations to their impressive festival ground. The Agora of l’UQAM Coeur des Sciences was a nice little touch and a perfect distance from the other shows. A great pit-stop or even part of the night’s loop.

A/X + AV VISION  1 and 2

A/Vision is the signature series of the festival. it’s a sensorial fusion of lights and sounds featuring audiovisual performances that are technologically driven. It’s where the digital creativity shines and unleashes itself into interdisciplinary works. Presented to a sit down audience, this year at théâtre Maisonneuve, A/Vision is what everybody want to attend – Even for full-passes it’s difficult to secure your seat. Mutek 20 line up

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ISM HEXADOME

The Institute for Sound & Music Berlin brought its 360° audiovisual installation ISM Hexadome to Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) for three weeks. Ten immersive works were specially composed using the Hexadome’s advanced 52-channel speaker configuration by Meyer Sound and its visual projection architecture consisting of 6 videos screens. Every hosting city was ask to produce a specific audio visual composition that use the full power of the Hexadome. Montreal’s pieces was signed by it’s very own Herman Kolgen that now play beside the like of Tom Yorks. The Montreal artist once again rejoined the festival line-up and it was only natural as Mutek played a major point in his raise to success almost 20 years ago. He was part of the first cohort of artist to collaborate on the Mutek project that now echoed for decades all across other world capitals.

PIKNIK- MUTEK

The partnership with Piknic Electronik continued this year, as Mutek’s avant-garde artists stormed Parc Jean-Drapeau to mark the festival’s beautiful outdoor closing on Sunday, August 25. It was perfect way to enjoy the festival to it’s full extend while discovering a must-do Montreal’s classic.

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Mutek 20 _ By Xavier Hébert – info@mtltimes.ca

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