7 artists premiering their first-ever live sets at MUTEK 2022
Photo : Claire & Alicia Hush © Myriam Ménard
As a way to encourage many artists in giving the best of themselves and exploring the possibilities offered by electronic music, and in order to perform on the festival's stages, most of the programmed artists must present a live project. A signature of MUTEK's identity, live performances promote artistic creation and highlight their authors beyond the festive character of electronic music. They also contribute to the diffusion of electronic music in more conservative circles.
But what are the differences between a DJ set and a live set?
A DJ set is a mix of pre-recorded music that responds to the spontaneity of a moment and reflects the credentials of the DJ. In a live set, artists create music in real-time through the use of software and hardware, such as a laptop computer, MIDI controllers and electronic instruments.
Beyond this different approach in the creative process, live shows cannot go on forever as is possible with a DJ set, and generally stand at around one hour. This is in part due to the constant attention required to elaborate a set, leaving very little downtime for performers.
The artist's ability to connect with the audience and capture their attention is one of the undeniable qualities of a successful live performance. Unmatched in terms of creativity, live sets offer artists an exceptional freedom that gives each performance a completely unique feel.
As part of its 23rd edition, MUTEK Montreal caught up with artists who, for the first time, have dedicated themselves to the realization of a live set. Let's jump in:
Adam Longman Parker aka Afriqua is an artist that MUTEK had their eye on for a long time. He is one of those gifted producers who juggles from one style to another in their DJ sets, with a disconcerting ease. Yet at the beginning of discussions, although he had a live set "in the cards for some time", convincing the American to produce his first live set was not an easy task.
"MUTEK was the opportunity I needed to finally take the leap."
Since then, when we ask him what drove him to develop this live show, Afriqua mentions "a great sense of creative freedom in developing the show knowing that I’ll be bringing it to life with such experienced people and an open-minded audience", as well as the possibilities that opened up to him. This is precisely why MUTEK encourages these artists: to open up the fields of opportunity in their electronic music practices.
"The process of arranging my music and insturments for the stage has shifted my thinking in a way I'm sure will be permanent. I can't wait to bring it to life!"
Afriqua is not the first reluctant one to change their mind afterwards - Jlin hesitated before trying the thrill of live performance and today she only plays live. Hopefully Adam will follow in her footsteps.
To be discovered during Nocturne 4, Saturday August 27th at MTELUS.
DJing under the pseudonym Louvoyons for the past twenty years, it was in 2015 that Marie-Hélène Brousseau started producing, fueled by "a small obsession for samples of spoken voices, for textures composed from everyday sounds". As a half of the duo Klardrøm, in which she improvised experimental atmospheres, the Quebecer wanted to “create a more rhythmic music, one that can tell stories. Louvoyons is the result of these interests and desires''.
Photo : © Gabrielle Mankiewicz
"For my first live show, I decided to elevate the rhythm throughout the set."
Accustomed to experimental and melancholic compositions, the producer made it her mission to "make light prevail". Ultimately, these intentions are best formulated by the artist herself:
"It's a good challenge for me to play my compositions in a more structured setting: to allow some randomness into the performance, while building a set with a more focused direction, punctuated by the pieces I composed. I envisioned the preparation of this performance as a deconstruction of my work, a kind of puzzle that I put back together, and in which the compositions talk to each other, they pass the ball around."
To be discovered during Experience 2, on Wednesday August 24 at the Esplanade Tranquille
Mue & Katherine Melançon
Formed in the spring of 2020, the Montreal duo Mue, composed of Catherine Debard and Léon Lo, produces electronica soundscapes with judiciously-arranged ambient-techno notes. Their encounter with artist Katherine Melançon, whose work is inspired by the interplay between the natural and the technological, was a logical one, from which the idea of "presenting an audiovisual performance at MUTEK felt interesting".
Having each performed at MUTEK in the past without addressing the visual component of their performances, this new project is an opportunity for the newly-formed trio to "develop something that would go beyond a strictly musical performance and collaborating with Katherine Melançon has each of us mixing artistic disciplines.”
“Because our performance entails a lot of equipment and requires some space, we will not be able to realize it fully until we present it on stage.”
A Discard Study is a unique performance, during which they will eat different foods live to create sounds and visuals that will be manipulated and layered with images. It does indeed seem to be one of those one-time live performances.
Words gathered from Mue.
To be discovered during Nocturne 2, Thursday August 25, 2022 at MTELUS.
When we contacted SIM to write this article, it didn't take long for an enthusiastic response to make its way back to us. It was instantly easy to understand why the young Montrealer is so appreciated and recognized in the various clubs of the city, where he distills his productions into electrifying DJ sets.
He seems to be ready for his festival premiere. His preparation demonstrates:
· Solid references: "Jeff Mills' Exhibitionist Series, Plastikman's performance style or Lee Scratch Perry's studio techniques."
· A clear vision of his project: "The motivation behind my live set was to have a definitive moment, in time and space, where I could showcase and perform my productions outside of my DJ sets."
· A good dose of perspective: "As this is my first live set, one of the main challenges I faced was to find the right combination of equipment for the performance I want to show."
· And ambition: "As this is my first live set, one of the main challenges was to find the right combination of equipment for the performance I wanted to give. By striiping down my setup to the essentials, this allowed me to keep myself focused on letting my productions shine through."
SIM already has all the makings of the greats, definitely a future rockstar!
To be discovered during Experience 5, Saturday August 27, 2022 at the Esplanade Tranquille
Victor is one of those artists who nurtures taste for music. He is a member of the alternative group Paradis Artificiel alongside Ouri and Odile Myrtile. The Montrealer by adoption mixes genres and techniques as a producer, among others under his former alias Rosewater Ctz, with which he released several projects on Tokimonsta's Young Art label.
"Even though there is a significant amount of improvisation in my approach, I am increasingly interested in developing a continuous narrative through my compositions."
You never know where the producer is going to take you and that's what we like about him! To launch this new chapter, the multi-instrumentalist transforms fragments of his experimental and pop influences into deeply intimate, vulnerable compositions.
"Since the release of my last project 'Dissociaterr', I've started using my voice more and more."
Close to the MUTEK universe, Victor Bongiovanni will make his solo debut on the esplanade Tranquille stage with a live performance consisting of "re-interpretations of these songs, disjointed, stretched and modified and new productions that I haven't had the opportunity to play live yet."
To be discovered during Experience 2, on Wednesday August 24, 2022 at the Esplanade Tranquille
This article was written by MUTEK for their 23rd edition of the Festival
Interviews and words gathered by Grégoire Chevron
with contributions from Lola Baraldi