Mutek.Mx is officially kicking off tomorrow, bringing some of the very best international avant-garde musical and visual acts to Mexico City and Estado de México. There are unforgettable shows from electronic music legends like Squarepusher and The Orb in store, plus dance marathons to Nina Kraviz and Leafar Legov. Expect Alva Noto and Lorenzo Senni to melt your face.
To help familiarize you with some of the Mexican talent, we highlighted what we believe are five of the top experimental acts you can’t miss this week. We also threw in an Apple Music playlist to guide you before the fest. It includes the music of other Latin American acts, like No Light, Klik & Frik, Practice, Jadir Zárate, Humberto Polar, and Rafael Anton Irisarri, plus selections from some of the festival’s headliners and other artists who will take the Mutek.Mx stages from November 22-26.
Mutek.Mx takes place in Mexico City from November 22-26. To purchase tickets, click here.
Mexico’s Camila de Laborde and Germany’s Daniel Hermann-Collini formed Camila Fuchs back in 2013 when they were studying together at Goldsmith College. Since then, the duo has dived nose-first into the electronic music world, starting out on their laptops and gradually shifting to hardware. They released their debut album, Singing From The Fixed Rung, late last year via SVS Records, Schamoni Musik, and The Lumen Lake, where they documented the melancholia and emotional fragility they experienced after Trump’s ascent to power and the Brexit referendum.
Sinking into Camila Fuchs’ music is a challenging experience, but also a very rewarding one. Blanketing De Laborde’s emotional voice, electronic textures pile up in layers, ranging from distorted, industrial-like percussion to ethereal ambient landscapes. They all weave together an unpredictable journey where they may be telling us a secret, seducing us, making us weep, or mesmerizing us with a dance beat.
Following their Mexican debut at the festival’s 2014 edition, Camila Fuchs will return to Mutek.Mx during Nocturno 2. This will be a unique chance to savor their music in an optimal setting: an audiovisual concert featuring deliciously abstract visuals.
Camila Fuchs plays Nocturne 2 on Saturday, November 25 at 9:50 p.m.
Malitzin Cortes is a Mexican architect whose work traverses illustration, collage, poetry, and animation, but at Mutek.Mx’s Nocturno 2, she’s showcasing on all of her chops as a sonic explorer. As CNDSD (pronounced “condesade”), Cortes is interested in exploring the possibilities of analog instruments and software, including techniques like live coding and sampling to create off-kilter compositions that tickle our brains with their puzzling structures, alien timbres, and impossible rhythms. Her SoundCloud profile features several boundary-crossing musical exercises: eerie granular landscapes, vertiginously fast techno, algorithmic vocal experiments, hypnotic noise improvisations…these and more are all part of the CNDSD universe.
Cortes is also part of the Mexico City collective Kernel Panic, along with like-minded digital artists Aristóteles Benítez and Alejandro Hernández. Her Mutek.MX debut will be supported by live visuals from Ivan Abreu, generated by the programming procedure. If you’ve ever wondered what a concert programmed on-the-fly sounds and looks like – or if you just became curious by reading this – you definitely want to add CNDSD’s show to your festival schedule.
CNDSD plays Nocturne 2 on Saturday, November 25 at 2:20 a.m.
There’s no way to predict Mexican artist and graphic designer Jessica Smurphy’s next move. Be it DJ Smurphy, Professor Jessica, just Smurphy, or her current alias Upgrayedd Smurphy, she has spent her career as a producer doing pretty much whatever she wants, but there’s always consistency in her eccentric manipulation of beats and sound.
Although she has put out music on NAAFI and Matthewdavid’s Leaving Records, Smurphy mostly self-releases through r-ch-v, a label co-founded by her and her husband and producer Alex Gray (aka d/p/i). She dropped her latest full-length HYPNOSIS there back in April. The 13 tracks are made up of heavily-processed sounds, deep bass bursts, and vertiginous rhythms which often graze the speed of drum ’n’ bass and rave.
This type of high-octane material is what comprised her set at this year’s Montreal edition of Mutek – where she played as part as the EXPÉRIENCE México showcase – so that’s probably an indication of what we’re in for on November 25 during her show at Nocturno 2. But then again, she might just throw a complete curveball at us. Let’s just expect to get down and weird.
Upgrayedd Smurphy plays Nocturne 2 on Saturday, November 25 at 1:35 a.m.
The Nocturno 2 event will witness the live debut of a brand new Mexican electronic project whose music is as dark and mysterious as the act’s identity. Visit EGROJ’s website or any of its social media profiles and you’ll find numerous images of off-putting but beautiful 3-D renders, a brief 20-second video teaser, and nothing but a single track, “Obvlu,” probably the only piece of music we’ll hear from the project until their Mutek.MX set.
The song is an unsettling composition; synthetic chords set the tone for saturated leads, fat bass hits, gnarly slurps, and ghostly gasps, chronicling a story that runs like an exhilarating psychological thriller. EGROJ’s dramatic ambient noise sensibilities are clear from the get-go.
EGROJ is actually a duo of two seasoned artists from Sinaloa. Jorge Schez has released outstanding, highly-detailed compositions on Static Discos and Igloo-Rec, ranging from dance floor-ready numbers to introspective sound meditations. Joining him is Jorge Ávila, a multimedia artist and curator behind EGROJ’s fractured visual identity. Catch them both at Nocturne 2.
EGROJ plays Nocturne 2 on Saturday, November 25 at 9:30 p.m.
Representing Mexico City’s VAA, the electronic music label that has brought us releases by Forecast in Rome, Jiony, Shitsuyume, and Mutek.Mx artist Mondragón, Isaac Soto is set to perform at Nocturno 1 on November 24. The Mexican musician is classically trained in piano, and he uses that background unconventionally, breaking away from tradition in favor of experimentation. His compositions are still piano-driven, but he relies on electronic production to communicate his message, always keeping an experimental edge.
Among his latest works are the EPs DO0PL3R and El drama de las luces, where IDM and techno swirl in melodic and rhythmic elements. His piano chords bring a sense of comfort and familiarity, and even though his beats are built around more traditional patterns, he improvises freely within these structures, generating minimal bursts of controlled chaos you can totally dance to.
In a live setting, he surrounds himself with synths and keyboards to build atmospheres that work as the soul of his shows, while triggering beats on his electronic gadgets and adding sporadic vocals. It’s a labor of craftsmanship that unravels in front of you.
Isaac Soto plays Nocturne 1 on Friday, November 24 at 2:15 a.m.