Montréal Québec Canada
Open menu Close menu
September 20, 2022
News List

Eight Highlights From MUTEK Montréal 2022

MUTEK23 23 08 Nicola Cruz credit Myriam Ménard 9

© Myriam Ménard

Impressive audiovisual performances, emotionally charged evenings, and the joy of a dancefloor re-inhabited by festival-goers: this 23rd edition marked a sublime return of the Festival. After two hybrid editions, MUTEK Montreal took full possession of the Quartier des spectacles and once again welcomed audiences from all over the world to partake in an innovative and inclusive program.

For six days and nights, no less than 50,000 people attended 77 performances by 138 artists of 22 different nationalities in four venues in the Quartier des spectacles.

While the festival as a whole remains unforgettable, some moments have a distinctive story behind them that will spark our memories for a long time to come.

Here are our eight highlights of MUTEK Montreal 2022:

​​Max Cooper & Architecture Social Club — Aether

© Myriam Ménard

A special event to kick off this 23rd Edition, this first night held its promise by offering us a momentous evening. The craze was such that we had to line up to access MTELUS and choose between the floor underneath the structure, or the balcony, from where the view was unobstructed. Once settled, Max Cooper's first notes struck and Aether began to awaken, the audience brimming with excitement. However, a few moments later, the light field went out, leaving the room in darkness. A cable malfunction was about to jeopardize this first show. It was without counting on the incredible reaction of all the people present: a first flash from a cell phone was seen, then a second one, and soon the whole venue was illuminated by these impromptu lights, while Max, aware of what was happening, gradually swayed into a completely improvised dance set. Backstage, everyone was struggling to find the cause of this breakdown and when it was figured out a few minutes later, Aether could really come to life! What followed was unreal, not unlike the evening as a whole since during this time, many people were dancing under the rain on the Experience stage in front of Nicola Cruz.

Bendik Giske — Cracks

Already among our prized performances of the 20th edition in 2019, Bendik Giske still managed to surprise us. His arrival on stage was a vision, stepping through a finely orchestrated and chimerical play of light and smoke. In the dimness, the silhouette of the Norwegian was barely discernible, hinting at a being from another universe.

© Bruno Destombes

When he finally stepped into the light, we discovered his stage attire: a denim baggy, a black mesh undershirt topped with an oversized pearly white suit jacket, the whole elevated by Kiss transparent heeled boots by Rick Owen. When the first notes, elongated thanks to his hypnotic breathing technique, became a track and then an album of futuristic notes, time suddenly stopped and didn't start again until the next morning, as the night was far from over.

Presented with the support of Smalltown Supersound

Marina Herlop — Pripyat

If there is an artist who would have wanted to stop the big clock that night, it is none other than Marina Herlop. With a visa freshly issued the day before her departure from Europe, the Catalan artist managed to embark for Canada on the morning of her performance. As we thought the storm was behind us, bad weather blocked the plane on the ground and threatened the arrival of the vocalist a few hours away from her visit. A race against the clock began to make it to the stage before the end of the evening. Two changes of schedule thanks to the support of the other artists, live intervention on stage of our co-director and director of programming, and endless waiting of our runner at the airport, Marina arrived a few moments before starting. Once on the MTELUS stage, the Catalan's pristine voice takes over the room and conducts all the emotions that run throughout. The strong vocal manipulations, the percussive rhythms and the digital embellishments take us into multiple fascinating dimensions. Marina ends her performance in tears, in the arms of her stage partners, bringing a tear to our eye. This very special atmosphere will continue to float over the festival, as if the night we have just lived was phantasmagorical.

© Bruno Destombes

Presented as part of the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the Treaty of Cooperation between Catalonia and Quebec with the support of the Institut Ramon Llull.

Tarta Relena (VJ Myriam Boucher)

© Bruno Destombes

Present on stage the day before with Marina Herlop, the two Catalan women experienced an evening rich in emotion. Yet they couldn't imagine the even more intense night that was to come. Marta Torrella and Helena Ros arrived on stage in the noise and heat of the SAT space and it didn't take long before they captivated audiences. As soon as they started to sing, the room became silent, as if subjugated by what they had just heard. Drawing on Mediterranean folklore and a precise electronic flow, they managed to take us to unexpected landscapes. This was carried out with total control over their voices, and by extension over each of us. Rarely confronted with such vocal power, we remained transcended by the harmony that unites the duo, and we could only notice that all around us, tears were streaming down on cheeks.

Presented as part of the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the Treaty of Cooperation between Catalonia and Quebec with the support of the Institut Ramon Llull.

Cora Novoa

There is a vitality among Catalans that makes each moment unique, because like her compatriots, Cora Novoa's performance will remain in the books of this 23rd edition. Anticipated since her last appearance in 2018, we saw the producer and DJ cruising through the different stages of the festival from the first day, surely to probe the atmosphere that prevailed; this is certainly the secret of her sets.

© Vivien Gaumand

Cora multiplies the energy that emanates from the room tenfold and transmits it both in music and in the physical commitment she puts into her performances, giving herself body and soul to offer a remarkable show. Her impeccably plated hair is the image of her techno strands: structured and explosive.

Presented as part of the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the Treaty of Cooperation between Catalonia and Quebec with the support of the Institut Ramon Llull.

Powder (VJ BunBun)

While extravagance sets the tone for some artists, others prefer to remain discreet, at least before the first notes and lights. Arriving in the dressing room five minutes before going on stage, Powder seemed to be saving herself for the three hours that awaited her. Once on stage, the Japanese artist completely changed her stature, and with it, the venue's. A rare DJ set of the program, this moment was the opportunity for VJ BunBun to gradually settle in their rich and captivating visual universe. BunBun and Powder are both true conductors who leave nothing to chance. The DJ and producer distills a finely selected ensemble of acid house, techno and breakbeat, arranged with meticulousness into her sets where each piece has a well defined place. With these two artists, it was difficult for us not to enjoy one of the rare nights where techno runs until the early morning, surrounded by those who didn't stop dancing.

© Bruno Destombes

The Mugzy & Maam Show

How can we talk about the highlights of this edition without mentioning The Mugzy & Maam Show? As their name suggests, it was a real spectacle from start to finish. Coming from another planet, the two extraterrestrials literally landed their flying saucer on the esplanade Tranquille before two puppets stepped out! Never before has an arrival on stage at MUTEK caused so much excitement and witnessed cell phones capturing the moment. But this was only the beginning of a completely crazy performance. For an hour and a half, the quartet took turns bringing the two puppets to life to make us dance. And don't be fooled, because behind this whimsical show lies real DJing techniques that lead the audience into a collective sway. The Mugzy & Maam Show brings absurdity and a derision so rarely seen in electronic music and it is exactly what we needed to end the week on the Experience stage.

© Vivien Gaumand

Immersive Collection

Between the Forum and the exhibition, the Immersive Collection definitely left its mark on this 2022 edition. Presented for free at the esplanade Tranquille pavilion, the works were a resounding success from the very first day, with nearly 700 views during the week and a line-up that could stretch to 45 minutes at times. The exhibition was an opportunity for the artists to present their creations directly to the public and to discuss them. The Immersive Collection also allowed many Montrealers and tourists to discover Virtual Reality. This last point pushes us to continue in this way, and to make digital arts accessible to all.

Discover the Immersive Collection

© Grégoire Chevron

MUTEK thanks the Canada Council for the Arts for its support of this project.

Words by Grégoire Chevron
English translation by Lola Baraldi

Copy URL to share Copied to clipboard