Now in its 13th edition, MUTEK shows no signs of slowing down as it propped up some of the most exciting lineups. We kicked off the festival with Nocturne 2, easily one of the most anticipated night of the festival. With Shackleton, Monolake, and Jeff Mills headlining the Metropolis end, and Sibian & Faun, Shlohmo, Salva, Nouveau Palais, and Paul White occupying the more bass-leaning tip at SAT, the night resulted in a succession of dashes between venues. In correspondence to such a loaded lineup, many showed up early to partake in Shackleton's 'opening' set. A large white backdrop formed a half circle around the stage as lights and visuals were projected from the back, accompanying the Skull Disco founder in his grim Middle-East-inspired UK dubstep quest. Underground Resistance veteran Jeff Mills presented a futuristic sci-fi audio presentation called The Messenger/Sleepwakes. He depicted a narrative involving the Moon’s many concealed surfaces and facets, guiding the audience in an almost sinister Kubrick-like venture. In contrast to the performances at Metropolis, the headlines at the SAT were much more club-inclined. I'm also fairly certain that it may have been the first time a Christina Aguilera song was heard blasting through the SAT monitors. Nevertheless, Shlohmo put out his usual entertaining blend of trap, special sparkly meld of R&B/beats, topped with a cooking dance number. Although many have decided to clear the dancefloor as soon as Salva hopped onto the platform, he delivered an equal (if not better) show full of glittery bass and carefully administered footwork music.
Surprisingly, Nocturne 3 turned out to be my favourite night as I consider all the diversity and distinctive performances. Nautiluss offered a strange albeit interesting progression to his set - starting with droney techno and slowly finishing with pop-ier aspirations as he was joined by female vocalist ALS. I wonder if he misses his Thunderheist days? Next followed BNJMN, who admittedly had a bit of a slow start - atonal and at times vapid. Luckily, his live set slowly took a turn for the better as it flourished into resonating heights. We soon rushed to see Nicolas Jaar supported by a live band - a saxophonist and a guitarist. Easily one of the most intricately eerie and beautiful shows I have witnessed to date, both audio and visually. We then proceeded to Kode9's DJ set - a cluster of everything UK and bass. From grime to drum and bass, from hip-hop to 2-step. Fast-paced, versatile, and wacky. Closing the third installment of the series with Hotflushe's Jimmy Edgar, he provided a rather vivacious set. It had slight tinges of electrofunk, 80's disco synths, and hard-thumping techno. Excellent ending to an extraordinary (and tiring) night.