The Cradle of Gabber Takes Over Montreal
Since the early 1990s, electronic music has thrived in the Netherlands, with prominent genres like gabber, trance, and techno gaining popularity across Europe. As a cultural and migratory crossroads, the Netherlands holds a significant position in fostering creative multiculturalism, hosting major festivals such as Awakenings Festival and Defqon, along with more niche events like Dekmantel and Rewire.
MUTEK Montréal has always been a celebration of the global electronic music scene, with this year's lineup including a variety of artists from the Netherlands.
Animistic Beliefs perfectly embodies the idea of coexistence. The dynamic duo skillfully merges Detroit techno with instruments from their Southeast Asian heritage while adding a distinct Dutch flair. Their live performances are unparalleled: the rhythm is frenetic, the melodies enchanting, occasionally interspersed with vocal outbursts that show Linh Luu and Marvin Lalihatu’s creative and innovative energy. The duo, who continually blend their diverse cultural influences in their music and foster new ways of thinking, will perform alongside media artist and close collaborator Jeisson Drenth at MUTEK Montréal.
Based in Rotterdam, Jeisson Drenth regularly collaborates with musicians and DJs who inspire new creative practices in his work. By combining experimental video, live performance, textual work, and recently, mixed-media sculptures, he utilizes a wide range of technical and artistic means to tell his story, shaped by migration and queer perspectives. Present at MUTEK this summer, Drenth will also showcase his work in a second performance with Eris Drew.
© Meryl Willems
Carmen Jaci & Matthew Schoen
Bridging the Netherlands and North America, Canadians Carmen Jaci & Matthew Schoen, currently based in the Netherlands, have found a fertile ground for their experiments across the Atlantic. Their hybrid style, sophisticated yet often humorous, is filled with references to pop music, video games, and symphonic works. Blending carefree spirit with logic, Jaci & Schoen have been collaborating since 2015, creating playful audiovisual performances they will present in Montreal this summer.
© Collectif Triangle
upsammy & Jonathan Castro
upsammy & Jonathan Castro, also epitomize the importance of artistic collaboration. Originally from Peru and residing in Amsterdam, Castro Alejos’ new environment has both changed his graphic work, and led him to meet Dutch producer, upsammy. Castro's latest album, released in early May, draws inspiration from the rich history of electronic music in the Netherlands, examining its diverse structures and offering numerous possibilities for deconstruction and composition to the Peruvian graphic designer. Whether this creative partnership was initiated or happened by chance along the canals of Amsterdam, their performance will undoubtedly be a standout in MUTEK Montréal’s 24th edition.
upsammy © Neven Allgeier
Last but not least, Dutch-Italian composer and sound designer Aimée Portioli will perform as Grand River. Her work, influenced by minimalism and ambient music, exudes rich complexity. With her latest show, "All Above," Portioli immerses her audience in an emotional experience, taking them on a journey through different states while fully revealing herself as a composer. On stage, lighting and visual design will be programmed in real-time by Marco Ciceri, a long-time collaborator and visual artist.
© Kasia Kim-Zacharko
Nadia Struiwigh, a native of the Netherlands now based in Berlin, has kept Amsterdam as her anchor point, allowing her to easily travel and nurture her practice. Her ethereal music tells the stories of the adventures she has embarked on over time, playing with the idea of perception. Struiwigh effortlessly transitions from ambient to club music, appearing at both music festivals, and at Trésor, where she serves as a resident. Struiwigh will showcase the different aspects of her artistic universe through two contrasting performances at MUTEK’s 24th edition.
© Palma Llopis
Located at the gateway of Europe, the Netherlands encapsulates the most current trends in electronic music. With a multitude of artistic styles and individuals nourished by cross-cultural collaboration, Dutch artists continue to remain at the forefront of electronic music.
Animistic Beliefs, Jeisson Drenth, Nadia Struiwigh et upsammy & Jonathan Castro are presented with the support of The Performing Arts Fund NL.
Grand River & Marco Ciceri are presented with the support of The Performing Arts Fund NL.
Words: Grégoire Chevron
English translation: Félix Bonnevie