I’m slowly getting back to what’s supposed to be normal life. After spending two weeks blasting my ears out to electronic music in two festivals, it’s now time to give you my impression about this year’s Mutek festival.

Here’s a list of the best and the worst acts this year’s edition had to offer.

The highlights

Plastikman, Amon Tobin and an Echospace mention – Mutek: A music festival for the eyes
Plastikman, along with Amon Tobin, was the most awaited performance of the festival. He didn’t disappoint. Being front row for this visual experience was magical. Had it been for the music itself, his live set wouldn’t have necessarily been anything to remember. (Or to quote a friend, “Mutek:   A music festival for the eyes.”) It was Richie Hawtin’s birthday the next day, and there was a great atmosphere in the crowd, especially when people started to sing Happy Birthday after his set! Honourable mention as well to Echospace, who set the bar high and put us in the mood!

Arp and Organ Mood
The surprise of this festival came on Thursday night during Para_Nocturne at the S.A.T. While trying to escape from the Metropolis, I found exactly what I was needing: experimental yet accessible electronic music. I caught the two last songs of ARP and almost had a tear in my eye. His beautiful music and beautiful visuals made me promise to myself to get his LP as soon as possible. I was also impressed with the Montreal band Organ Mood. Make sure you check out their next concert here!

He’s been around for quite a while now in the Montreal electronic music community. I never paid much attention to him…but now know how big of a mistake that has been. His set during Piknik Elektronik on Sunday literally blew my mind, with the perfect blend of house music to make you dance and get sunburns like there was no tomorrow. Check out his next party on June 17th. The party goes until 4am, and that’s another reason to be happy!

Danuel Tate and Radiq
It was a great way to end the festival. Even with the little energy I had left, I was still able to get in a dancing mood. Danuel Tate from Colbblestone Jazz with a world premiere, and the Japanese Radiq doing his North American debut, both proved that house music can be intelligent and sensible.

Last night a local DJ saved my life
Honourable mention to Jacque Greene, though I missed his first ever live set. Every person I know told me how solid it was. He’s now escaping to Detroit for two weeks to make music with Jimmy Edgar.   Billy Dallessandro also rocked the Savoy room when I darted from the main show at Metropolis because I couldn’t stand Modeselektor.


The lows

Modeselektor and Anstam
Don’t get me wrong. Moderat’s performance blew my mind a couple of years ago, but as much as Mutek sometimes gets too intellectual for me, I think Modeselektor was too easy. During a festival with a mission like Mutek’s, I’d rather not be bouncing around to hip-hop-inspired beats with a thousand   underage kids.

Rocketnumbernine and Four Tet
It was not bad; it was just not what was needed on a Saturday night. After a day spent at Piknik Electronik and three nights of the festival already, these downtempo acts were not the recipe to encourage people to keep going. We all regretted not having napped longer, and I even have a friend who decided to go back to his hotel until the party got started   – which didn’t happen until at least 3am!

Photo from MUTEK Montreal Flickr.

We’re back in Montreal trying to communicate what we experienced in Detroit. No words can describe it. It was like a religious ritual, and I’ve already started the countdown until next year’s festival. The whole experience was magical, and I have to say that for such a big event, the crowd was really communicative, and there was a peaceful, friendly vibe. The free massage station in the V.I.P. area was appreciated, since I’ve never danced so much in my entire life!

Whether it was Kerri Chandler, Soul Clap, Marc Houle, Ambivalent, every stage had something good to bring to the festival, but since we were in Detroit, the Made in Detroit stage was the way to go. It was the loudest stage, and housed artists like Delano Smith, who played killer remixes of Depeche Mode and Claude Young, which made everybody there cry of joy while he was mixing with his mouth. I think that’s where I really understood the meaning of Detroit Techno!

The last day started early at Old Miami. Seth Troxler was organizing an event outdoors with many artists more wasted than the crowd behind the desk. They still managed to mix, so a big shout out at them! Our local DJ Vincent Lemieux made us all proud and was quite impressive, especially when he dropped a vinyl that had been melted by the sun and still managed to mix it!!!

Don’t forget that it was Memorial Day…they had to stop the music in order to let the disco regiment of Windsor fire their guns! My friend actually received a projectile on her, and it was hilarious to hear people starting to have bad trips after that!

We finished our journey in a loft in a ghetto area with Theo Parrish’s friend Marcellus Pittman spinning for a crowd of locals and true Detroit techno lovers. It was a way to say thank you and goodbye. I’m holding my breath until next year’s festival. Being back in Montreal is a bit sad because, like a friend said: “I’ll take a candy raver instead of a hipster anytime. At least candy ravers dance!”

We’ll slowly go back to our routine, but let’s not stop the music yet. Mutek has just started and I’ll be covering it.

So keep reading!



See more photos by Mathieu Grondin from Movement 2011 via facebook.

Sleepless is the best way to describe my weekend, but a good vodka Redbull diet served me well, and kept me moving.

On the second day of Movement, we were able to enjoy the music of Soul Clap, Ricardo Villalobos, 69 (Carl Craig project) and Delano Smith. During the sets there was a tornado warning; I seriously thought “this is it” during the Soul clap set, which added some strange yet funny anxiety to the day!

Villalobos was able to get through the boarder; but that was quite surprising, especially since he was so intoxicated during his set! You can’t change him. We cracked up laughing when he unsuccessfully tried to put drugs in his pockets while deejaying, then he decided to go hide under the DJ table while thousands of people watched.

My interview with Marc Houle from M-nus records, was one of the highlights of the first day. We talked about Project Noise in Montreal, and the noise complaint issue to which he said: “Toronto is there for people who wanted to be quiet, not Montreal!”

Here’s my complete interview:

With a name like yours, it would be easy to think that you’re from Quebec!
I am actually from Windsor, Ontario. I love music from Quebec. Actually a lot of music I listen to is from the early 80’s in Quebec. There’s some obscure music like Echo 83. Nobody knows them, even people from Quebec don’t know who they are.

Really? It’s more like new wave?
It’s more like Kraftwerk, it’s beautiful. It’s three French dudes. It’s one of the best album of all time.

Tell me about how you started deejaying?
It was at Richie Hawtin’ club: 13 Below. I used to play new wave music – it was fun! We had one room, and throughout the club we had televisions with different Ataris; so people were sitting at the stations playing old video games and I’d be playing new wave music that’d go along with it, and they’d bring the cartridge to the DJ booth and trade them for other games. And I’d talk to people: Oh ! You just played Tick tock, it’s beautiful eh! Try Mister Do! You’ll love it!

Now you’re based in Berlin. What made you move there?
When I first started playing at clubs, one of my first shows was in Berlin, and it was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen before. People swinging from the ceiling, everyone screaming, it was like a fake movie; it was surreal, but it was normal there. Then you come to North America and everyone is standing there and talking to each other. Usually you can hear people talking about work while you’re deejaying, but there it doesn’t happen. Every time I went back, it just got better and better, and better. I decided that if wanted to stay the same, then North America was fine, but if I wanted to grow as an artist and live as an artist, I had to go to Europe. It’s just so different.

Do you have a new release coming soon?
I don’t think so. It’s tough for me because I just make songs everyday and my goal in the studio is to make songs for Magda dj. She’s always been my inspiration. If Magda likes it, then I know it’s good, because I trust her judgment. If there’s a whole bunch of them that are really good, then I can put out an album, otherwise I just keep making songs, making songs, making songs.

How do you create your music?
I’m lucky enough to have my studio in my house, so if I’m like making eggs or something and I have an idea, I just take the eggs off and run to the studio record really fast. It’s like a game or something, it’s really fun, it’s never like work and if it became work, that would be really sad.

We survived the festival for a second day and were lucky enough to catch Derrick May and Juan Atkins in a tiny bar. Unfortunately the party got busted by the cops around 5 am, but we add plenty of time to dance like there was no tomorrow!

Marc Houle – On It (Original Mix) by E – Music LA

See more photos by Mathieu Grondin from Movement 2011 via facebook.

Today we’re launching the series of Detroit interviews, which will preview the Movement Festival, with Justin Martin of the Dirtybird family.

The San Franciso producer has been around for almost a decade now. He has been booked at Panoramabar, Exit Festival and our own beloved Piknik Electronik. He has been mentored by Claude Vonstroke and was in the first four releases of Dirtybird records. I asked him a couple of questions concerning his background and the DJ lifestyle.

How did your love for music start? Do you come from a musical family?
I come from a very musical family. My parents used to blast everything from classic rock to classical music and my dad’s vinyl collection was pretty insane.

Did you study any instruments?
Both I and my brother Christian took piano lessons from a very young age and I eventually moved on to play the saxophone in quite a few jazz bands growing up.

What was the first concert or DJ set that blew your mind?
One of the first concerts I can remember blowing my mind was going to see A Tribe Called Quest perform with The Roots when I was in high school.  I was a huge Tribe Called Quest fan growing up so I’m glad I got to see them in their prime.

What do you like the most about being part of the Dirtybird family?
It’s just really nice having a group of real friends that are all on the same page musically. Everyone in the crew is very down to earth and I look up to each one of them for different reasons. We truly are a family when it comes down to it and I always find inspiration from them. I feel very lucky to be one of the Dirtybirds.

Can you tell us about a magic moment you had while deejaying?
I played at the Exit Festival in Belgrade for the first time about 5 years ago… it was by far the biggest gig of my career. I was really nervous because I was playing a sunrise set for over 10,000 people right after Roger Sanchez. I remember shortly after I started playing looking up and seeing even the police officers on duty dancing all around the stage, and all my nervous energy just turned to joy. That was probably one of the best gigs of my life.

What was the weirdest thing somebody ever told you while you were mixing?
Someone once asked me if I would have sex with their mother.

What is your favourite track at the moment?
Oh gosh… so many favourites…I really like this track called Sexual by Tanner Ross and Soul Clap. Those guys are making beautiful music!

Mr. Spock by Justin Martin & Ardalan by dirtybird

Justin will have a crazy weekend! He’ll be playing at the I Love You But I’ve Chosen Techno party on Saturday, then in Las Vegas on Sunday and back to the Movement festival on Monday, where he’ll be playing on the Beatport stage at 7:30 pm. Make sure to catch his set!

In a couple of days I’ll be heading to Detroit to attend one of the most exciting electronic music festivals in North America: Movement. Not only is the line-up incredible, but it’s also taking place in a city steeped in music history. This will be my first pilgrimage to the city that gave birth to techno music and I’ll be there from May 27th to May 30th,   keeping you posted on the great stuff happening there. I’ll also be doing some interviews with the artists I respect the most.

The festival only lasts three days, but with all the artists booked I’m really not sure if I’ll have time to sleep. The festival goes from noon to midnight every day, and I’m not even going to get into the topic of after-parties today! Dj Harvey, Sven Väth, Carl Craig, Paul Kalkbrenner, Justin Martin (an interview I did with him will be up soon),  Ben Klock, Richie Hawtin and many, many more will keep festival goers dancing all week-end. Not to mention the legendary Ricardo Villalobos, who was confirmed last week to perform at both the festival and an after-party on a boat!!!

Here’s an interview I did with Jason Huvaere, Director of Operations for Movement Electronic Music Festival.

When did the festival start? What gave you the idea to start a festival like this?
The festival, now in its 12th year, has taken many twists and turns prior to our organization, Paxahau, becoming the producer in 2006 but the essence of it has not changed.  It is still an event that is all about the music and the people who love it so much.  Since 2006 we have worked to improve upon each year’s production, and put together a line-up that is representative of where the music is today.  As the music evolves so will our festival.  Movement today, unlike when it first started, is an international music festival, and we intend to maintain that status for years to come.

Is there any incident that made you regret being a festival promoter?
I don’t really get to dance anymore, and we are exposed to challenges that remind us of the magnitude of the responsibilities we have accepted.

Which booking are you the proudest of this year?
Each artist who performs at Movement is important to the overall experience of the event for fans.  We are proud to have them all at Movement Electronic Music Festival.  Dr. Atmo and Sven Vath are the two I think of first.  They have been with us in heart since the beginning of the Detroit scene but these are their first performances at the festival.

What is the spirit of the festival? What should you expect if it’s your first time attending Movement?
It is a very friendly, community oriented environment.  If you are a person who truly appreciates electronic music you will find that there are many people like you who are in attendance.  Expect to dance.  There are five stages and each one has something going on and the performances will have you moving your feet and body all day long.  You should dress for the weather.  Be sure to have comfortable shoes on.

For anyone who want to experience the city outside the Hart Plaza, what are the must-sees in Detroit?
We have many great venues and restaurants.  We encourage people to explore while they are in Detroit.  We have partnered with a bike rental shop in the city called Wheelhouse Detroit and they are giving tours of the city.  We think people should take advantage of that … it will give you a sense of history and a great tour of the city and its Techno landmarks.  The website www.digdowntown.com has a lot of great listings.

The festival will also promote visual art. Paxahau have teamed up with Creative Corridor Center (DC3) and Community Arts Moving Projects (CAMP Detroit).  DC3 and CAMP Detroit reached out to their artist networks to seek applicants from Detroit’s creative community to submit a proposal for their installation idea.  More than fifty artists showed interest in the project, and in the end six installations were selected.   The installations represent a wide range of mediums. Most will be interactive. Some will be technically complex and involve electronics. Each is sure to inspire. The artists who developed the installations include recent art school graduates, community arts leaders, architects, graphic designers, and electronic and mechanical engineers.

Time to get ready…well to sleep as much as possible so I can go on a 3-days no sleep diet!

If you’re not able to make it to Detroit this year no worries! You’ll be able to catch the event online!
On May 28, 29, and 30 from noon until midnight fans of electronic music will be able to visit www.ResidentAdvisor.net to access five media players being powered by the folks at www.Awdio.com to hear live performances from six of the festival’s stages.

For those interested in seeing the creative side of Detroit, there’s a great documentary made by Johnny Knoxville who shows us the positive aspects of the city. Watch it here: http://www.vbs.tv/en-ca/watch/uneven-terrain/palladium-detroit-full-new-credits–3

I have a love/hate relationship with the month of March. It’s almost the end of winter, so that’s sweet, but at the same time you always have a last week of Antarctic cold that makes you dream of moving to Cuba. It’s my birthday so I get free drinks for a week, but that also means I am aging! Anyways, long story short, I guess March = mood swings for me and that’s a bit what this playlist is about – it goes from synth-wave to deep house. Enjoy catching spring fever!

*Playlist is in order of song description.

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Shit Robot Take em up
As the snow will start melting, my love for pop music will return. Shit Robot made the perfect song to match my spring fever mood. With Nancy Whang from LCD soundsystem and Juan Mclean fame on vocals, this single from Shit Robot’s debut LP From The Cradle To The Rave will stay in your head.

Omar-S Here’s your trance now dance!
The latest release from Detroit producer Omar-S came out on his own label FXHE records. When I first heard it I unconsciously started to smile. Since then I’ve listened to it every day. It’s a feel good song that will undoubtedly become a great dj tool to make the crowd go crazy at seven am.

Laurent Garnier The man with the red face
This track is not new at all. It came out eleven years ago. Why am I putting it on this month playlist? Because Garnier will perform at Théâtre Telus on March 24th. It will be a five hour performance including both a live and dj set. Don’t miss the chance to see this French dj who started his career over 20 years ago at the mythic Hacienda.

Steffi Yours (ft.Virginia)
Last February, the Panorama bar dj released her first album Yours & Mine on Ostgut Ton. The result is a soulful deep-house record. The Berlin artist is more known for her dj set, but this release places her high in the producer hierarchy.

Femme Télégraphe
Addictive lo-fi and 80’s inspired French songs. That’s what Femme is about. I first got to know the band during my recent Europe trip. They were playing in an 18th century castle two hours from Paris. I immediately fell in love with them. They just did a mini tour in the USA, so hopefully we’ll be hearing more from Femme on this side of the ocean soon. If you’re into that kind of sound I recommend this great synth-wave compilation.

Automelodi Schéma corporel
Might as well continue with the French music suggestions. For having tested it on Berlin’s dance floor, I guarantee that you don’t have to understand the lyrics to appreciate this song. Automelodi‘s the latest project of Xavier Paradis. Oh! I forgot to mention that they’re from Montreal and you absolutely need to see them live.

Bicep Darwin
Andrew Ferguson and Matthew McBriar are not only behind one of the most interesting music blogs right now, but they also know how to make you dance. Darwin came out on Throne of blood last December. Check out this interesting edit by Retro/grade.

Recondite Robur
Let’s finish that playlist with a hypnotic beat. Not a dancefloor banger but a beautiful melody that will keep you dreaming until spring is really among us.

If you’re craving more new music tune in Cism 89.3 fm where I’ll be hosting my radio show Ce soir on danse. The fun starts at 21h30 every Saturdays.

Photo gregdelon.fr