mutek montreal 2015 / in review

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there’s something to be said about coming home. countless words have been written about it: it’s “where the heart is.” “there’s no place like” it. nothing has emphasized the truth of these statements quite like returning to montreal for mutek, the annual digital arts and creativity festival that takes place around the quartier des spectacles/place des arts at the end of may. this year, the lineup boasted an incredible roster of local and international talent. not only was it deeply special to witness some of my close friends taking the stage this year, it was even more moving to find myself surrounded by all my favourite people in the world, dancing to the best music, all with the same smiles on their faces. coming home doesn’t get any better than that.  Continue reading

featuring / klangscheiben

“claing-sh-eye-bin. clang-sch-high-ben,” i stumble over the words, trying to tell a friend the name of the german record label i’ve been writing for. behind me, i can hear thomas baz, the label’s founder, laughing. “was that wrong?” i venture another attempt at the pronunciation, “klang-schybbin!” not even close. i met thomas last summer at toronto’s sound in motion festival. we became fast friends, and have long been supporters of one another’s work; him of mine under little city, me of his as demas and under the klangscheiben label.

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thomas has been in town since last week, ahead of his gig playing as demas alongside swack and alicia hush at this year’s mutek festival (em15), but the magic is only about to begin. the rest of the family under his label — sebastian albrecht, marlene magnoli, and florist — flew in from berlin a week later. having been booked at a number of different events around toronto, montreal, and quebec city by their friends and sisterlabel hushlamb, the klangscheiben crew is set for a musical invasion. this saturday will see the entire roster take the stage on the rooftop of the societe des arts technologiques (SAT), an event put together by hushlamb. the festivities (which technically begin at tonight’s side by side event with mike shannon at bleury bar a vinyle) will continue on until sunday evening at piknic electronik, where hushlamb has its own stage.

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it’s a rainy wednesday evening, and i meet up with thomas, marlene, sebastian, florist, and marlene’s boyfriend manuel at bethlehem xxx in little italy. over drinks, we get to talking about the music scene in canada. the group tosses names around — mike shannon, akufen, deadbeat, pheek — and the distance between canada and germany gets smaller. they talk about the kinds of parties they host or play at, the oversaturation of the scene in berlin, and the kind of music they want to show the world. for a second, i forget we’re from different cities; it all sounds so familiar. so much so that i almost forget to turn on the voice recorder.

i want to talk about the label. i don’t wanna say the name though because thomas laughed at me when i said it wrong the other day.

thomas baz: [laughs] it’s pronounced “kleng-scheibenn.”

kleng-scheibenn?

TB: better! [laughs] i founded the label in 2004, so it’s ten years old this year. i wanted to have a label behind my dj name to play gigs. in 2006, i started to release stuff — first only net releases, then digital, then physical.

flori jansen: thomas even inspired me to do also my own label with sebastian called park recordings! the music is similar. we are also trying to sign acts that thomas doesn’t have on his label, so we are always pushing to find new music.

sebastian albrecht: we’re trying to be “elite” with our music. not elite, but…we are trying to always get quality music, just like thomas.

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em15 mutek x elektra 2014 / review

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standing immediately in front of the stage at metropolis on friday night, the bass was so loud that you could feel it in your bones, your head, your heart. and yet, behind me, a girl and her buddy are in the middle of a conversation about what show they saw last night, speaking loudly enough so as to be heard over the music. i shush them, pointedly, asking that they take it elsewhere. although my interjection wasn’t taken kindly by the pair, the crowd around them erupts into approving shouts and laughter. “maybe they should turn the volume up,” the girl suggests. “maybe you should turn the volume down,” i shout back. the pair laugh, lower their voices, and eventually become so involved with the music that they stop chatting entirely. it’s situations like that that perfectly describe mutek for me — everyone is there for the music.

it’s always nice to come home from detroit’s movement festival and jump right into mutek. there’s no shortage of good music to go around, and the line up this year has had the city all abuzz for months. mutek partnered up with elektra digital arts festival in honour of both fests’ 15th anniversary, so the week’s performances included stronger light installations, visuals, and digital imagery than in years past; em15 was, for all accounts and purposes, a complete sensory experience.

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sound in motion 2013 / review

sound in motion toronto: the little music festival that could. that phrase had been tossed around a lot pre-festival, but if there were ever a truer way to describe sound in motion, i don’t know it. SIM kicked it with the big kids this summer.

it’s been such a trip watching this festival grow. helmed by the crew over at studiofeed, sound in motion is well on its way (clearly i’m beaming with pride as i write this). i took a short trip down to toronto for the weekend’s festivities, armed with a bottle of whiskey, a magic cape, and my dancing shoes. although it was hard to narrow it down, here are my top five moments from sound in motion toronto.

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the bpm festival 2013: review

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it’s been a hot minute since the bpm festival and i think i’m finally recovering from my playa withdrawls – my return to montreal was a rocky one (one in which i hung out on the floor of my bathroom, writing news stories for work in between bouts of stomach flu) (pity me!), and the freezing temperatures didn’t help: dancing at igloofest my first weekend back felt surreal in comparison. it was more than a 60 degree difference in dancefloor temperature. 60 degrees. i’m still reeling from the fact that that’s even possible.


a little tINI for yer ears

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