when i ask montrealer jesse morrisson if he’s a dreamer or a realist, there’s a long pause before he answers, “both. i tend to keep things grounded but i’m definitely a dreamer, too.” the same can, i think, be said for his music. the first time i heard jesse play live as fake_electronics, it was a journey. in the basement of the mac in montreal during the 2014 mutek under low lights, jesse delivered a hand-crafted set built entirely around the randomness of the modular synths he works with. such a tactile approach lends his music an honest edge; there’s something genuine in his sound. that’s not to say that it’s straightforward, though — jesse’s right when he calls himself a dreamer, too.
mutek has always been the kind of festival you experience with your whole self. you don’t go to mutek to simply hear music, you go to mutek to listen. you don’t go to mutek to watch visuals or art installations, you go to mutek to see. mutek is an anomaly in that way; one of the few festivals where you’re acutely aware that everyone is present for the same reasons, and it all boils down to a love of music. when the opportunity to attend the 6th annual mutek es in barcelona, spain, arose, i couldn’t pass it up. needless to say, mutek es was an experience for all five senses — being in a new city often does that to a person. the music was absolutely stand-out incredible, the visuals were captivating, and the people were warm, grounded, and welcoming. a good analogy for the festival as a whole. here are the ways i experienced mutek barcelona.
it was early 2011 when i first shyly toyed with the idea of starting a “blog.” it was around the time that the word “blog” didn’t have exactly the same connotation as it does today. blogs were “the cool thing,” and no one rolled their eyes at you when you proudly declared that you were writing one. in 2015, though, the word “blog” itself is enough to make me cringe. following our continuing obsession with portmanteauing everything — mockumentary, liger, brangelina, affluenza — the “blog” is in itself one of those sad words you can’t help but be embarrassed to say out loud. but in the beginning, the timidity wasn’t for the word but for the thing itself.
it was years, literally years, before i was able to talk about this thing called littlecity without the obligatory nervous laugh or sheepish grin. it’s funny how hard it can be to talk about these things that we’re passionate about, the projects that we pour our hearts into, the goals we stop at nothing to achieve. i have brushed off littlecity like it wasn’t one of the most important parts of my life. i have smiled and blushed and rolled my eyes when others have talked about littlecity in praise. it was easy for me to talk about anything else, other than this thing that, some days, i wake up for in the morning.
“warm water” that you played through a portable speaker in the basket of your two-year-old bicycle, your last summer in montreal. volume turned way up, riding with two of your best friends — to work with the sun rising at your back, coffee in one hand, or to the bar at night, racing to beat the rain. you pretended you were in “now & then,” embodying every cliche: carefree, sun-kissed, singing at the top of your lungs without knowing the words. you played it at the park in the heat, in your stuffy apartment, on your computer at work, in the studio, and in the early morning when the three of you came home, sticky with sweat and laughter, from a night of partying under seventeen moons.
i’ve never met lyli jordy in person. i’ve never heard her speak aside from picking up on her ghostly vocals in the productions featured on her soundcloud. we met in the way that seems typical of the music community – over the internet, earlier this summer when my good friend jackie spade pointed me in lyli’s direction, insisting that she has a “voice that needs to be heard.” i tucked into her soundcloud, devouring her every release from dripping, melting dub to complex microhouse or instrumentalized minimal thread through perfect, breathy vocal fragments. and though i’ve never heard it in person, i know for sure that lyli has a voice that, indeed, begs to be heard.