Matmos To Play MUTEK 2001

Kompakt, Traum showcases planned for electronic music fest

North America has typically lagged behind Europe when it comes to electronic music festivals; while the Continent has Midem, Popkomm and Sonar, we're stuck with the South Beach schmooze-fest of Winter Music Conference. But last year's launch of Montreal's MUTEK festival gave North America a new platform for experimental electronic music. Far from the glam overload of WMC, MUTEK highlighted minimalist and "microsound" corners of the genre, presenting performers such as Thomas Brinkmann, Vladislav Delay and Pole, and featuring label showcases for 12K, Raster-Noton and Context.

MUTEK 2001, presented by Montreal new media organization Ex-Centris, will build on the foundation laid last year with a similar program of experimental sound and post-techno music. Minimal techno remains at the heart of the program, with performances from Matthew Herbert, Kitty-Yo's Rechenzentrum, and Perlon artists Dimbiman and Ric y Martin (Ricardo Villalobos with Atom Heart collaborator Dandy Jack).

Cologne's notoriously secretive Kompakt, latest in a long line of obscure dub-techno projects from Wolfgang Voigt (a.k.a. Mike Ink), will present four of its artists — Dettinger, Closer Musik, Jonas Bering and Tobias Thomas — in a rare North American appearance. Kompakt cousin Traum (the label is run by Kompakt staff member Riley Reinhold) is planning an international showcase featuring France's Philippe Cam, British-German expat Process, and possibly Argentina's Gustavo Lamas. In one of the only holdovers from last year, über-minimalist Thomas Brinkmann is tentatively slated to perform as well.

In addition to dub-techno and microhouse grooves, however, MUTEK will also present a variety of sounds falling into no particular category. Topping off the list is San Francisco's Matmos, fresh from a long stint in Björk's New York studio. They are currently touring in support of their new album A Chance to Cut Is A Chance to Cure (Matador), which adds to Herbert's purist musique concrete methods an aspect of "extreme sampling," drawing from sound sources as diverse as liposuction, laser eye surgery, and human skulls. Matmos, in a recent Coil cover, have suggested a link between contemporary avant-garde electronica and earlier decades' industrial music; Mikael Stävostrand, an ex-industrialist gone glitch, brings that perspective to MUTEK, along with the Mego-affiliated Goem, a trio comprising Frans de Waard, Roel Meekop and Peter Duimelink.

Canadian talent is still being finalized, but is expected to include Tomas Jirku, Akufen, Tim Hecker (Jetone), Mitchell Akiyama, Martin Thetreault and I8U. Taking place over five nights from May 30 to June 3, MUTEK will offer three performances nightly, at 5 p.m., 9 p.m. and midnight. More information is available at — Philip Sherburne [Monday, April 23, 2001]

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