The second and final wave of MUTEK.AE has just been announced and who better to headline alongside Jeff Mills and Dasha Rush than Francesco Tristano? The two-day festival is going to be huge, not only for frequent partygoers and techno-heads, but for everyone interested in digital art and, most importantly, Dubai’s local art scene. MUTEK is a huge platform, a franchise that branched out from Montreal to Mexico, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Barcelona, and now Dubai. Thanks to some of the great minds behind the Dubai art and party scenes (Mehdi Ansari of Analog Room and Walid Nehme of FIBRE), our local talent is truly blessed to be associated with such a colossal title.
MUTEK always aims to immerse itself in the local art scene, so we can expect some of the most esteemed local talent to perform some amazing live electronic music. As is custom with MUTEK, artists rarely play DJ sets, and when they do, it’s usually a hybrid between making music live and DJing simultaneously, similar to jamming along to a backing track (as Jeff Mills will be showcasing for us). Yet having nine local and regional beat-makers and sound artists play full live sets in one festival is an extraordinary achievement for the Middle East electronic music scene, so it’s only fair to give credit where credit is due and thoroughly introduce our local talent.
Nasrawi is one of those names that we have seen a lot in Dubai, constantly playing the circuits and most notably being a resident at Analog Room. His taste in music is extremely diverse, as you can hear on his Boiler Room / Adidas Originals DJ set. When it comes to his own music production, his sound is just as diverse, ranging from ambient soundscapes and spaced-out electronica to experimental hip-hop and groovy four-on-the-floors.
Siamak Amidi is notorious in Dubai for his extremely extended sets. Having co-founded Analog Room, and also one of the main residents, it’s no surprise that his reputation precedes him. His sound is something along the lines of deep acid house, a modern take of the classic sounds that come with acid and deep house, while his DJ sets have shifted more into deep, experimental techno. He’s also known for being one of the first to throw raves in Iran, and is very respected for often putting his freedom on the line and even getting lashes for the sake of music.
Telmiz, being flown over from Beirut and represented by FIBRE, is a rising talent in the Lebanese club scene. Having played vinyl sets alongside big names in the Lebanese techno scene such as 3lias, Renata and back-to-back sets with Housecoat, and performing live at some more underground parties. He will be using synths, old-school drum machines and even his vocal chords to execute his own special blend of experimental synth-pop.
With firm roots in Zanzibar and the Emirates, vocalist Hamdan Al Abri teams up with friends and producers Adriano K and Mostyn to build “a deeply soulful and intimate ode to life, love, loss and learning”. For Mutek, Abri and the Dreamfleet will be performing their debut album, We Fly, a mid-tempo collaborative excursion that sees the trio journey from the desert to Zanzibar, touching down in Madagascar, Spain and Lebanon. Out now independently through Adriano’s own Desmo Records,We Fly is available everywhere online, with limited quantities of vinyl and CD available via GrooveDistribution. The album includes collaborations with legendary Madagascan musician Kilema,whilst Lebanese bass player Elie Afif contributes mightily on the title track and Want You Back.
ETYEN is one of Beirut’s most well-known and live acts, being the second Lebanese electronic music producer to graduate from the Red Bull Music Academy. His sound is dreamy yet sample-heavy electronica that often fuses music from the region and all over the world. Adored by everyone in the cult-ish Lebanese music scene, he still manages to play the biggest clubs in Lebanon and is always met with an awed response. Exploring new sounds and showcasing new material exclusively for MUTEK, ETYEN is not to be missed this time around.
Paul Josef, known for his uplifting yet deep and techy sound, is part of and often heard at the infamous Groove on the Grass mini-festivals that took over Dubai by storm. He is now focusing on the purer side of techno, and as one of the few local acts that has performed live before, one should still not expect to hear anything familiar. With an arsenal of fresh material, this live act is bound to turn heads.
Magnetic Fossils will be one of the most exciting local live acts, as it is the much-awaited debut project by Shadi Megalla, supported by Karim Sultan. Shadi is one of the most prominent DJs in the Dubai underground scene, as he is not only the founder behind Dubai’s first record store Flipside and famous for his Shady Shadow podcast, he’s easily one of the most well versed selectors in town and mostly revered for his vast record collection. His own sound is quite different from the rest of the Dubai scene, drawing influence from the old-school deep house sound to create his own off-kilter take on the matter. For MUTEK, he’ll be showing a very different side of him. Magnetic Fossils is a documentary about the Middle-East’s cassette culture, for which Shadi composed the sound-track by sampling tapes that were used in the documentary. To fully implement Shadi’s musical idea for this live show, Karim Sultan will be there to musically accompany Shadi’s sound-track. Karim is notorious for his live shows, which he’s performed all over the world, including London, Cairo, Toronto, Sharjah, and of course, Dubai. He is also one of the only artists in the Middle East that uses the traditional Arabic lute, the Oud, in an exploratory and innovative method. Fusing traditional instruments from the region, found sound and modern digital techniques, he truly is a force to be reckoned with.
To top it all off, Dubai industry professionals will be coming to discuss the industry’s growth in terms of arts, culture and music. There will also be workshops, panel discussions, and various forms of audio/visual shows. MUTEK is all about digital innovation; if you’re into music, sound design, or audio-visual performance, this is an event that can’t be missed. MUTEK is also a non-profit organization that really aims to promote community through artistic collaboration, and for the Dubai scene to experience this first-hand should hopefully inspire and motivate for a more unified scene.
Special thanks to MUTEK.AE, Mehdi Ansari, and all the artists and professionals involved that are working hard on making this festival an experience to remember.