Electronic sounds and audiovisual wonders at MUTEK

Robyn Fadden

MUTEK brings inventive electronic music and high-tech visual performances from around the world to Montréal in a roster of over 100 artists from 20 countries – many in free outdoor shows and fabulously danceable multi-venue parties.

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Extraordinary sights

One of Montréal’s most cutting-edge summer festivals, MUTEK takes over several downtown venues from August 22 to 26, adding its own late-summer heat to the city. With on-screen spectacles, immersive sonic artistry and nights of underground techno and house, the 19th edition of the festival boldly and joyously investigates our world’s digital tendencies. A cornerstone of MUTEK, the A/Visions program this year features astounding live audiovisual shows by Russian A/V and installation wizards Tundra, Martin Messier and YRO's maximized microscopic visions and Line Katcho's Immortelle on Friday, followed on Saturday by Herman Kolgen's IS OTOPP dramaturgy, the hallucinatory visuals of trio Falaises and Australian artist Robin Fox's Single Origin sound and laser light odyssey.

Late-night sounds

MUTEK's Nocturne nights of deep listening and serious dancing are legendary. This year, neighbouring venues MTELUS (with two stages this year) and the Society for Arts and Technology (including the 360-degree Satosphère dome) teem with innovative acts and body-moving beats. Opening night, on Wednesday, features Jamaican dancehall deviants Equiknoxx and the world-wide rhythms of Italy’s Clap! Clap! Thursday night brings in modular synth sensation Caterina Barbieri, the ambient landscapes of Australian Lawrence English and Echospace's cv313. Friday's extreme with Dasha Rush and Lars Hemmerling as big-room techno duo LADA, new material from Errorsmith, irreverent tech-house stylist Machine Woman, Aleksi Perälä's microtonal tuning system the Colundi Sequence, and leftfield electronics from Tolouse Low Trax, Berlin-based Montrealer Ramzi and more. Saturday goes all night – until 6 a.m.! – with French producer Chloé, DJ Python's moody house, the dazzling audiovisuals and IDM of Lanark Artefax, cinematic British producer Pye Corner Audio, daring Spanish artist JASSS and more after-dark sounds. Sunday caps the fest with the freewheeling, good vibes of Charlotte Bendiks, Acid Pauli, DJ Voilà, Moomin and more producers keeping MUTEK revellers upbeat in the SAT's dome and on the main dance floor. See MUTEK's full schedule for all the details.

Groove outdoors

Relax under the sun with a drink or dance to your heart’s content every afternoon and evening on the Esplanade of Place des Arts, where MUTEK’s Expérience outdoor stage welcomes producers from around the world, Wednesday through Saturday – see Chloé, Ben Nevile, Poirier, Boska, Analog Tara, Charlotte Bendiks and many more. On Sunday at Parc Jean-Drapeau, MUTEK curates Piknic Électronik with Floorplan, Bambounou, Ouri, Anthony Naples and Magnanime. And new to the festival this year, Red Bull Music presents Hors Circuit, a Sunday afternoon of music at a site close to Mile End and Little Italy, featuring high-energy DJ sets by Dasha Rush and Frankie Teardrop plus live performances from Jann Tomaro & Mikael Tobias, softcoresoft, Teo Zamudio and other artists.

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More free events

The festival's free Play series unfolds every evening in Studio Hydro-Québec at the Monument-National, an intimate setting for new music and visuals from a range of groundbreaking artists. At free daytime symposium DIGI LAB, hear more about artists' hands-on process, featuring panel discussions, presentations and technical workshops with musicians, producers and multimedia creators. And as part of the festival's involvement in the international Keychange initiative, MUTEK features more women artists than ever before, as well as a free two-day symposium on women in electronic music and digital arts. With so much to take in at MUTEK, go early, stay late and discover the future-looking next level in electronic music and art.

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden, blogger

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

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