MUTEK 2023 | Experience 2 : Airhaert, Dawn To Dawn, The Mole

by Théo Reinhardt

MUTEK Montréal 2023 and PAN M 360, a combination that makes perfect sense! That’s why our team is focusing on it this week. Fans of cutting-edge electronic music and digital creation are in Montreal this week, so follow our team’s vibrant coverage through Sunday!

Photo credits : Frédérique Ménard-Aubin

Airhaert

Airhaert doesn’t so much crowd the stage as she fills it, like a cloud of smoke. Her music, like her, finds its source in the depths of the earth, and seeks to bring us back to it. Between trip-hop rhythms, ambient techno and draped vocal passages reminiscent of Grouper, the meditative, spiritual aspect of the project is heard and felt. The voice is used as a stream of celestial energy flowing through the otherwise dark space of the music. I imagine ghosts of a phrase, a thought, long forgotten in the depths of being, deconstructed perhaps in form, but having acquired a whole new meaning. These voices are texture, they are a stream, and it’s tempting to let them enter us for how they might affect our currents, hot and cold, uncertain and obsessed. Because, after all, water is a sure current that always finds its way.

Airhaert’s recent album, I. I. (for Intuitive Intelligence) is an exploration of the depths of Being, a hypnotic, meditative, grounded and introspective experience that seeks to explore the notion of therapeutic music. On stage, the album seems to take a few spontaneous turns, no doubt at the whim of the moment and the lure of the buttons, wheels and indicators that surround the artist. Despite the improvisation and the few harder-cut transitions it brings, we can still lose ourselves in the music, or… in ourselves!

Dawn to Dawn

Dawn to Dawn is a trio made up of Montreal singer Tess Roby, along with Patrick Lee and Adam Ohr. Together, they possess that twilight electro sound which caresses the ears and seems perfect for imagining a high-speed nocturnal stroll through a futuristic, neon-lit cityscape.

Borrowing from pop structures, their style is clean and effective. The synths are round and glistening, like clouds at dusk, while the bass and percussion, with their techno and breakbeat accents, are predominant. Tess Roby’s voice is soaring, dancing lightly in the fine light of the landscape they conjure.

Towards the middle of the show, the songs rise in energy and tempo. Roby’s voice, performing from the front of the stage, soars with the music. This trio may not be the flashiest, but sometimes we like having the lights dimmed. Dawn to Dawn’s music is like that: warm, light and appealing, like distant lights on a summer’s night. The ones that remind us we’re not alone.

The Mole

After more than 20 years in Berlin, The Mole, aka Colin de La Plante, is back in Canada. 

The man who made his name in Montreal as a DJ in the 2000s offers a sample-heavy proposal. Cut-up vocals, excerpts from instrumental breaks, bits of lyrics, all these flow together in a sound space built block by block and with great care. His “Go Wiggle!” project, which he presents on the Esplanade Tranquille stage, is based on lyrics from Parliament-Funkadelic.

In his performance, Colin de La Plante weaves together the different parts of his musical presentation with fades. Rhythms enter while others leave, a new melody overtakes the previous one, and, gradually, new sounds are integrated, to the point where we no longer remember what was coming out of the loudspeakers a few minutes earlier.

Working partly with vinyl, de La Plante is definitely searching for a retro aesthetic. The proposition remains fairly conventional and doesn’t get too experimental. Instead, each piece unfolds slowly and meticulously, revealing a sensitivity as well as an instinct for progression on the artist’s part, who leaves us time to notice the changes, fluctuations and disruptions he engenders. All in all, this becomes a show that has a good groove, and which manages to be pleasantly varied and spellbinding.

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