Day 3 at Montreal’s MUTEK

Andy Stott, Project Pablo, John Tejada and others

ANDY STOTT, PROJECT PABLO, JOHN TEJADA, LUCY, KHOTIN and others as part of MUTEK, Friday, May 29. Rating: NNNN

By day three of MUTEK, the cavernous Metropolis concert hall had been added to the venue roster for the night program, and there were also more daytime events, exhibits, workshops and talks. While it’s still a much smaller festival than something like NXNE, and everything happens within walking distance from each other, it’s still impossible to catch everything. But it’s best to just relax and follow your ears – some of the best moments happen by surprise.  

Andy Stott at Metropolis was highly anticipated, and the UK producer didn’t let us down. His command of atmosphere and drama came across in the giant hall, his sparse arrangements making each element stand out in sharp contrast. It was also one of the more diverse sets we’ve heard yet at the festival, moving from spacious deconstructed dub to distorted digital jackhammer beats.

Later back at main venue Musee D’art Contemporain de Montreal, John Tejada went in the opposite direction with a warm friendly set of melodic techno that went over well with the late-night crowd. One of the results of MUTEK’s focus on live electronic performances is that many sets are not nearly as accessible and clubby as what many of these artists do as DJs, but Tejada’s was even more dance-floor-friendly than much of his recorded work.

Earlier at the outdoor stage, Project Pablo’s chilled-out deep house proved that you don’t need racks of expensive analog gear to put on a good show. But while his setup was extremely bare-bones, his tasteful keyboard playing and melodic sensibility made up for the lack for tangled wires, flashing lights and mysterious metal boxes covered in knobs.

Later on the same stage, Khotin wrangled a tabletop full of vintage drum machines and synths, pumping out elegant, restrained techno and deep house. The pretty melodies were nicely balanced by the raw quality of his sound sources.

Italian/Berlin producer Lucy’s closing set at Metropolis was a departure from his modular-based performance the night before at MAC. He fully embraced his techno side, and it was dark and minimal, with just enough twisted weirdness to keep it interesting. | @benjaminboles

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