Saturday, June 11, 2005

Mutek 6th Edition / Various venues, Montreal, CA / June 2 – 5, 2005

Once again, Pitchfork has the exclusive on my “deep thoughts.” So here are some shallow thoughts on last weekend’s trek to Montreal for Mutek. Keep in mind that I know, like, nothing about electronic music.

For more Mutek musings, check out this, this and this.

Car ride there: The Juan Maclean album on repeat for hours.

Night 1:

Robert Henke does “Studies for Thunder” (read: stands behind his laptop while it makes thunder noises) in a room that is completely dark except for the streetlights coming through the windows. The audience is sitting or lying on gym mats on the floor. We bliss out for 20 minutes, then leave.

Day 2:

“New Markets in Electronic Music: The Space Between Peripheral and Emerging” panel

This guy says there is no electronic music underground in China. Audience member Mr. I’m-So-Cool-Because-I’m-A-White-Guy-From-Nebraska-Who-Lives-In-China disagrees vehemently and annoyingly. Uwe Schmidt (a.k.a. Atom Heart, Senor Coconut, etc.) is also on the panel. He is wearing a white suit, has a moustache and long, slicked back hair. He looks like the kind of guy who rolls down the window of his black Cadillac to shout naughty things at women walking down the street. I find him strangely attractive.

“Beyond Borders: Cultural Hybrids” panel

Uh oh. Mr. ISCBIAWGFNWLIC is on the panel this time. He keeps asking, “Am I Chinese? Am I Nebraskan?” We don’t know! We don’t care! Stop rubbing your head in that creepy way!

I ask four different people what, exactly, “tech-house” is. Nobody can tell me.

Night 2:

The only woman I see operating a computer on stage all weekend, Diane Labrosse, makes me cower in fear with loud crashing rumbling that sounds like a dinosaur stomping through the forest on its way to eat me.

Apparat’s set is best when it’s dirty and dark and overdramatic and gothy. It starts out super intense but gradually relaxes. At one point, everything stops because his computer crashes or something.

Pan/Tone is fond of low synth tones that go mwwah mwwah mwwah. I like his set because it is playful. I am told that it was “cheesy” and “bad” by someone who danced deliriously through the whole thing.

Day 3:

I lie on the floor on a gym mat listening to Tim Hecker’s set on headphones. I’m not sure if I’m asleep or not.

Night 3:

This is the only show that is taking place at an actual dance club. Everything else is in a converted museum. The sound at this club is incredible—really loud, bouncy and bassy, but still, you can have a heart-to-heart conversation with someone while standing directly in front of the speakers.

Ricardo Villalobos has “missed his flight” and therefore won’t be filling the headlining slot with his partner in Sense Club, Luciano. Whatever. I wouldn’t know Villalobos if he was playing video games in my living room right now.

Mathew Jonson makes me dance like a crazy person. I drink a gallon of water after his set.

I’m not really feeling Luciano, especially when his set, like Apparat’s, is derailed by a technical glitch. We go up to the balcony and sit down. My friend falls asleep as I am hypnotized by all the pretty lights.

Atom Heart, filling in for Villalobos, does a set that sounds like house mixed with dancehall. It makes me feel all jiggly.

In the car on the way back to the hotel, Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8r Boi” comes on. I sing along and am filled with joy.

Night 4:

Omigod there’s a girl on stage and she’s singing! Suzana Rozkonsny’s breathy moans and hiccups sounded like Kleenex/LiLiPut meets Arthur Russell, and when coupled with SoulPhiction’s hard-driving beats, it was like having sex at zero gravity. Not that I’d know or anything.

The last performer I see at Mutek is far and away my favorite. Nego Mocambique plays a partytime electro-house set with lots of old soul samples and funk rhythms. He is also a very good dancer and seems very happy.

Car ride back: Juan Maclean on repeat AGAIN. The girl who sings “Dance with Me” is now my mortal enemy.