EM15: A Breathtaking Anniversary Edition

This year's extraordinary anniversary edition which combined the forces of the Elektra and MUTEK festivals as EM15, wound down early last week

June 12, 2014
EM15: A Breathtaking Anniversary Edition

A historic week at the MAC

This year's extraordinary anniversary edition which combined the forces of the Elektra and MUTEK festivals as EM15, wound down early last week with the final notes of NICOLAS JAAR'S enthralling 5 hour improvised set at the MAC upstairs, and a finale of ex-pat Montrealers downstairs. After six jammed days and nights of performances, this successful first time synchronization between MUTEK and Elektra has been put to bed.

For the first time this year, festival PASSPORTS and weekend PASSES sold out weeks before the festival started. The international scope of journalists, partners, artists and attendees was also impressive and extensive, with total attendance breaking all previous records, reaching almost 52 000 visits when counting all the indoor and outdoor events.


The MAC, The Impérial Theatre, The Esplanade de la Place des Arts

With the MAC as our nerve centre, EM15 explored a thrilling re-contextualization of the festival - using spaces that shifted perception about electronic music and contemporary digital art practices, and creating new opportunities for conviviality. The atmosphere at the MAC was greeted with overwhelmingly positive reactions as it became an enlivened space showcasing the very best in forward thinking music and digital art performances but also acting as the frame for the installations and works in the International Digital Arts Biennial (BIAN).

The main room at the MAC witnessed some jaw dropping performances, including from BEN FROST, whose delivery of A U R O R A is still reverberating with attendees. HOLLY HERNDON, SHACKLETON, ARCHIE PELAGO, FLUXION and PINCH also turned in astonishing and moving presentations.

  NOCTURNE 1 : Shackleton - Salle 2 // Crédit : Jean-Seb Roux

 NOCTURNE 1 : Dinos Chapman - Salle 2 // Crédit : Caroline Hayeur 

The BWR Hall downstairs served as an immaculate sound and vision chamber for a long list of premieres including TIM HECKER'S sensory deprivation Fog Works performance, JONAS REINHARDT and EGYPTRIXX with brand new audiovisual shows, and the entire experimental PLAY program, which was visited more than 3000 times. WOULG, FRANCE JOBIN and MARIE DAVIDSON gave especially notable performances.

PLAY 2: Marie Davidson - MAC, Salle BWR // Credit: Caroline Hayeur


The festival's signature A/VISIONS series was repeated in a couple of instances to accommodate the unprecedented demand for ROBERT HENKE'S laser piece Lumière, and the world premiere of HERMAN KOLGEN'S Seismik. Using the Impérial Theatre as one of our new venues, festivalgoers were treated to a host of other premieres including the astounding new work, Machine_Variation by BERNIER + MESSIER, the A/V dazzle of NONOTAK and the RICARDO VILLALOBOS, MAX LODERBAUER rework of music from the ECM label.

 A/VISIONS 3: Robert Henke presents Lumière - Impérial // Credit: Caroline Hayeur


The Esplanade de la Place des Arts shone as the outdoor late afternoon stage for the  free EXPERIENCE series presented with RBMA, in collaboration with the Quartier des spectacles, attracting thousands of visits over its four days of operation. It exploded into a hive of hyper activity when RICHIE HAWTIN announced his free DOTup concert there on Wednesday afternoon, reaching over three thousand people in less than 24 hours - communicated only through social media. RBMA alumni ELEKTRO GUZZI, LUCRECIA DALT and YOSI HORIKAWA turned in perfect sets, while a legion of emerging local talent held their own, with stellar performances from PRISON GARDE and MAGNANIME.

 EXPÉRIENCE 2 - Esplanade de la Place des arts // Credit: Diego Cupolo

  dotUP with Richie Hawtin - Esplanade de la Place de arts // Credit: Caroline Hayeur


Meanwhile, local artists IRON GALAXY owned the stage at Métropolis for their debut live performance, setting things up for the festival's signature all-nighter on Saturday, which was packed to the rafters with an audience eager to experience the transportive power of RICARDO VILLALOBOS as a DJ. RICHIE HAWTIN'S ENTER. night was a similarly ecstatic affair for festivalgoers and TM404's opening set remains talk of the town. 

 MÉTROPOLIS 3: Stefan Goldmann // Credit: Caroline Hayeur


Record breaking attendance at the Phi Centre and at Piknic

The daytime program at the Phi Centre which kicked off a full week's worth of conference, workshop and panel activities on Monday, began with the International Connecting Cities Symposium exploring digital art interventions in public urban space. More than 1500 visitors came through the Phi Centre over 5 days of programming that also included the International Marketplace for Digital Arts and the DIGI_SECTION professional program highlighting technology partners and artists. Ableton hosted two particularly big talks with art and technology mavens - RICHIE HAWTIN and ROBERT HENKE. The Wire Magazine interviewed HOLLY HERDON and HEATSICK live in front of enthusiastic audiences, and HOLO magazine concentrated on teasing out the aesthetics of audiovisual works and their performativity, in interviews with MATTHEW BIEDERMAN and ALAIN THIBAULT and PAUL PRUDENCE. Roland showed off their brand new line of machines and underlined them with a live performance from MATEO MURPHY.

DIGI_SECTION: Ableton Live Talks with Trailblazers Richie Hawtin - Phi Center // Credit: Isla Kriss  


This year the Sunday Piknic at Jean-Drapeau Park exploded with 9300 entries, with people craning to hear ERNESTO FERREYRA, MOVE D and the majestic sunset closing set by DONATO DOZZY on the main stage, while surprise guests RICARDO VILLALOBOS and PINCH joined HARMONIOUS THELONIOUS on the second stage. It was a particularly gigantic event, breaking even Piknic Electronik's previous records, with the weather cooperating in an unprecedented way.

 MUTEK//PIKNIC: Move D - Parc Jean-Drapeau // Credit: Caroline Hayeur 


MUTEK Mexico dates announced

We could not have dreamed of a more transcendent edition. Overall, this groundbreaking and synergetic mix of MUTEK and Elektra produced a concentration of both contemporary electronic music and digital art practices, and a consolidation of audiences that has elevated Montréal to a new level.

We wish to wholeheartedly thank all the artists and performers whose work occupies the heart of the festival, the festivalgoers whose presence and engagement creates the essential exchange and animation of our event, and our partners and collaborators without whom none of this would be possible.

Your feedback is always precious to us. If you would like to rate or review this year's performances visit us online at: http://em15.ca/review

There is so much more to look forward to. MUTEK Mexico will mark 11 years in Mexico City October 20-26, 2014. And stay tuned for announcements about next years festivities!


Robert Lippok
Kangding Ray
Dinos Chapman
Holly Herndon

Ken Taylor & Richie Hawtin
Alain Mongeau & Robert Henke
Ableton Workshop

Holly Herndon


Resident Advisor 
Rover Arts
Huffington Post 
Beatport News 
La Presse

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