The best part of the MUTEK opening reception was the free access to the two exhibits going on at the Musée d’Art Contemporain – wherein you walk up the stairs and there’s a moose head, cast in silver plastic, on a hydraulic arm.
There’s an amazing look at abstract art in Quebec, which is the rival of anything I have seen at MoMA, and there’s a section of ‘numeric art’ – glitch videos, robot hands that reach out and touch your face, undulating LED tubes, a terrifying, circular ur-typewriter, and so on. Highly recommended.
The overall vibe of the festival set itself was at least as abstract as the exhibitions: laser-sharp beams of light from the ceiling are the overriding aesthetic. Robert Lippok’s dub / techno / click live show ended with fantastic use of these – he pulled out a thermal blanket, and blasted red beams off of it, as the music resolved itself into distorted pads and huge chord progressions.
Before Lippok, Oneohtric Point Never had the stage, which coincided with the largest number of dudes-with-arms-folded in the audience, and some one checking his tinder in front of me.
Snide comments about ‘experimental’ music fans aside, OPN is the Mahler of his generation: his sets takes in entire worlds, leaping from place to place and theme to theme. You can call it chillwave/ambient/experimental/psy/electro/etc, and the truth is that, like Mahler’s symphonies, OPN is all of those things at once and equally none of those things. It’s also very, very, good.
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In stark contrast to OPN’s everything-at-once music and SIGGRAPH-esq visuals, Tim Hecker’s Fog Works show is a very specific thing: eschaton-level drone music in a room so filled with fog that you can’t see more than two people away in any direction. Hecker is basically trafficking in religious experiences: his music sounds like the world being spoke into being his ‘visuals’ (two red lights on the amps, and low, slowly-fading room lights) are 100% dissociative. I am sure that some of the audience members were on some sort of drug, and I am astonished that they walked out of the show in one piece. I was cold sober, and I almost forgot my name.