Tuesday, January 12, 2010

OMG it's Mutek Podcast 33: Philippe Cam at Mutek 2001!!!!

They said it would never happen (OK, I said it would never happen). I thought that nobody cared, but at least one person does -- the person who updates the on-again, off-again Mutek podcast! Last week's podcast was one of my favourite gigs of the 00's, and after Mutek took down their archives c. 2003, it's a gig that I thought I'd never get the chance to hear again. Philippe Cam from Mutek 2001!

Mutek podcasts are essential listening, but the blurbs leave a lot to be desired. A sentence like "his contemplative music is the perfect way to slide back into the grind after the holidays" makes me wonder if the writer confused Cam's set with Olaf Dettinger's from the following night of the festival. I read how "France's Philippe Cam brought his intimate knowledge of contemporary electronic music to the festival" and imagine some kind of quiet, candlelit electroacoustic show, which is a version of history that I simply can't relate to.

Cam's set might be "contemplative" if played at low volume in the office, but crank it up and it becomes more enveloping, in particular, the subtle bass tones that Cam uses in his music don't really stand out unless they're heard at considerable volume. Whereas the recorded version of "Mixte" ebbs and flows in density and volume, the live version jumps from peak to peak, piling on and on with barely any letup. "LFO Drive" feels rougher, twitchier and funkier than on record, confirming my memories of it serving as a furious finale to Cam's energetic set.

Essential. Like breathing.

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