Nocturne 2 for Mutek 2019 was last wednesday at Studio 1 of 7 Doigts on St-Laurent St. in Montreal and we had the pleasure to go. We were really excited to see the space and the performances. Schedule was tight, ambiance peaceful and performers on point. The night was well planned, room was full and spectators were ready to assist to four audio-visual performances. From psychoacoustics dialoguing with visual arts to live recording looping session, Nocturne 2 initiated a very eclectic selection of artist in a good programming. In the following content we will make a short review of the night by the order of appearance of the performances.
Portland Oregon multidisciplinary artists Chloe Alexandra Thompson and Matt Herson joined forces and creativity to present us a live audio-visual performance, Morié, which kept spectator in between spaces. Isolating high and low frequencies – especially low, deep low (Thompson reached 120dB as a subwoofer work in a previous performance) – on long intervals and mixing live recordings to it, Thompson fills up the whole room with the sounds and initiate a dialogue with the visual effects provided by Herson. Psychedelic forms and pictures in moving, kaleidoscopic visuals and sometimes squared and basic figures give the impression that the second and third dimensions are fighting for space. But in the end, it all just seems normal when these images pass on these long frequencies with harmony.
Lucas Paris presented in world premiere his latest project, Emotional Synthesis. Techno and electro references on futuristic sounds, Paris performs live mixing sounds and image in two parts on an unsettling beat. Sometimes smooth, sometimes jerky or fast, the artist questions the ratio between our consumption habits and our emotions. Giving us clear pictures and mixing them rapidly while increasing the bpm, he somehow gives us a clear image of his questioning and bring the spectator in a peaceful place. His performance was amazing and filled up the place with a dancing feeling at some point.
Yona is a female singer vehiculing the pop star image. But Yona is not real. She is a concept, an “auxiliary human” created by the artist and living in a program. Even her lyrics and voice are robotically generated. Koosha presents his avatar like a pop star offering her image to the world, with her anguishes, vulnerability and hopes. On an accessible and well composed electronic music, the spectator watches Yona sing and dance in different artificial and conceptual spaces (in her world). Each track comes in a different space, like a music video with amazing aesthetics. She interacts with the spectators, as if she was on stage. Many people in the room were dancing to the music while watching Yona “perform”, mesmerized by each of movement she made. For sure, “Yona” questions our relation with artificial intelligence and the symbiosis with it. It also revisits the fundamental question of the artist representation and his relation with the spectator as a consumer.
Last performance of the night was brought on a lighter note, tinted by a bitter-sweet slice of humor. “Plastic is everywhere, even in your lungs: …Your brains” – said M.C. Schmidt from San Francisco duo Matmos. For the first time of the night we, as outsiders, had a human direct contact with the performers as they addressed us. They were funny but concerned. Schmidt and Daniel use plastic in various forms to create sounds. They record, loop and mix the fluctuations of sounds they create and make sense of it by connecting the environmental issues around our excessive use of plastic. First performance was brutal: distorted sounds were aligning with black and white images of people using an anti-riot police shield to create the plastic noise. After came along a couple of live performances creating sounds on different objects and/or concepts (i.e. close captions of breast implants). It was pleasant – and sometimes not- to feel the spectrum of frequencies made out of our daily life routines. Always playing on the edge of humor and social concerns, the duo brought a sweet ending to this beautiful Nocturne #2 of Mutek 2019.
Review by Maxime D.
Picture by Myriam Ménard