If one is to believe the pronouncements of the music press, 2012 was the year of EDM (electronic dance music). A more nebulous term hasn’t been used since the catch-all term “electronica” used in the 90s marked anything from house to techno to internet cafe trip-hop state-side…And now, like then, the gargantuan marketing teams and promoters who excel in applying the lessons of cattle-herding to the concert experience, have assembled to foist a bucket of digital slop upon the bleary-eyed denizens of club culture: the soulless festival line-ups comprised of EDM punching bag Skrillex, amateur trampolinist Steve Aoki, and the sneering, self-loathing Deadmau5. (The latter a mouse-shaped Rorschach stain on the reputation of Canada) Thankfully, amidst this desolate landscape, there are events like Montreal’s Igloofest, the winter companion to the organizers’ more established summer weekend block Piknic Electronik, to prove that forward-thinking programming of electronic music and the large festival format can peacefully co-exist.
2013 Igloofest podcast by Pierre De Lux
Igloofest kicks off on the weekend of January 17-19 and continues for three weekends after, transforming the Old Port of Montreal (333 Rue de la Commune Est, Montreal QC) into a 50k square feet playground of ice (60 tons last year) & sound and the ubiquitous kitschy winter onesies: a minor note in an otherwise masterfully run festival.
In its 7th year, Igloofest has expanded exponentially, and this year’s roster boasts over 70 DJs and a smattering of VJs – a fertile area that’s been growing in tandem with electronic music and not receiving as much attention. Here are four picks for the first weekend:
Wolf + Lamb
8:30pm, January 17
The multitalented production n’ DJ duo of Zev & Gadi exist in that sweet, soulful 124BPM zone in the Venn diagram where the abstract elements of house and songcraft tendencies of nu-disco overlap. Their Igloofest appearance will mark a new chapter in their ongoing affair with the city.
9:30pm, January 18
On Saturday, the capable tech-heads of the Mutek festival take over – emerging from behind glowing laptop screens at Laika to submit a capacity crowd of chilled Montrealers to the bleak knob-twiddling minutiae of microhouse & binary expression. Okay, it’s not all that bleak – especially when German producer closes the night with an adventurous re-imagining of tech house that banishes all thoughts of techhouse as the soulless vacuum we all suspect it to be by virtue of its name. Germany is synonymous with technocratic efficiency that befits a nation enamoured with steel, but Kaden pulls and tugs at the latent strain of romantic yearning in the Teutonic soul… With techhouse, not Wagner. (Thank God.)
7:30, January 19
If you’re visiting Montreal from out of town, you might not recognize the name of Scott C (née Clyke). The CKUT radio host, DJ and founder of the exceptional monthly The Goods, prominent remixer, music writer and all around good guy is a standout presence, a living manifestation of the spirit of Montreal. A true music lover, Scott’s deft production skills heighten his sets of golden age hip-hop, R&B, boogie and old school sounds: all backed up by an encyclopedic, genre-spanning musical knowledge built on his years in the game. Familiarize yourself with his work at his Soundcloud.
8:30pm, January 19
A living legend of house music with a puritanical streak to match, his set’s likely to argue from the first principles of house outward. He divides his time DJing and tweeting to expose the clowns of the circus.
Where to buy tickets?
Igloofest tickets can be bought: online; Igloofest gates; participating boutiques. For more information visit: www.igloofest.ca