Friday, May 29, 2009

MUTEK 10 : Arrival & ATOM 1

A light rain and clouds hung over Montreal as I arrived today. This being my first time in Montreal that I will be able to remember, I was pleasantly surprised at how similar it was to a European city.

We are staying at the Auberge de Pomerol, official hotel for Mutek press. It was a toss up between this and a Marriott branch I had a deal with, but I'm really glad we went with the Pomerol. The location, across the street from Berri-UQAM Metro (a central hub), is extremely convenient. The hotel and its rooms are quaint and cozy -- perfect if you're planning a romantic vacation, or if you just want a nice peaceful place to stay in the middle of it all. Our A/C unit rattles like a bitch though. But they bring breakfast to your door, so I think I can live with that.

After settling in and begrudgingly getting over the fact that the USD to CAD exchange rate JUST shot down, we headed down to the Monument-National Theatre to check in with Mutek and get our passes and everything sorted for the weekend.

The extremely friendly and courteous Mutek staff gave me a warm greeting and I was soon on my way. Their absolute professionalism, which I had already gotten a whiff of during the credentialing application, really let me feel relaxed.

With a scheduled interview with tobias. just a short time a way at the same location, we decided to find something to eat in the immediate area. Lunch at Saigon Style(?), a small Vietnamese and Thai place on Rue St. Catherine, was good but unremarkable.

After, we returned to Monument-National, only to find that Tobias was MIA, and so went the interview. On the plus side, this gave me time to run over and check out ATOM 1 at Place des Arts.

After being led by an usher in almost complete darkness, I arrived in a small curtained-off room, with 64 red-lit balloons in the center of a ring of people.

ATOM (not sure what that stands for), is an audiovisual experience, performed by Robert Henke (aka Monolake) & Christopher Bauder. If you've seen any sort of LED display synced up to music, you can get a general idea of what it was like. Trust me when I say it was much more awe-inspiring than that sounds. I was not sure what to expect from something like this, as I've never really gone in for the A/V displays previous, but I was pretty impressed.

The red light in the room soon faded to pitch black, and the music began, slow and steady, with the balloons now being illuminated by bright white lights, and moved along a verticle axis. There's not really any good way to describe it... you are just going to have to wait for the video to get a taste. The music itself was dark, atmospheric, and... well... minimal (this time it's being used correctly!). If I had to make a comparison, I would say it was similar to something GAS might make, only less dubby and filtered, more dark and abrasive, and using some organic soundscapes... ok so not really like GAS. lol . All in all, an excellent way to start off the weekend. It was new, different, fun, and entertaining.

Heading out to dinner now, and then to Nocturne 3 and maybe some of Play 3. I'm getting excited!

- Reuben

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