Published May 31, 2015With so many legendary artists playing throughout the five days, you can sometimes forget that many of them are also peers. Performances like that of Daniel Bell — presenting the MUTEK premiere of his minimalist DBX moniker — with John Tejada quickly remind you that the festival also acts as a great platform to test out new collaborative ideas. While both artists are playing the festival individually — Tejada played May 29 at the MAC and Bell at the outdoor stage on May 31 — their Saturday night (May 30) set at the Métropolis offered a peek into the infinite possibilities provided by their unique sets of talents.
Tejada was on hand to support Bell on the drums, contributing a robust backbone to Bell's distorted synths. Like the previous Atom & Tobias set, theirs too started cleverly simple and unquestionably slow. But once the Detroit legend stood up to provide live, pitch-shifted vocals, the whole experience went into overdrive and the pace picked up significantly. There was also a distinctive throwback flavour to Bell's minimalism, with hints of the short-lived and unfairly loathed electro-clash movement of the late '90s.
These might seem like a collection of disparate and disconnected soundscapes, but it all came together midway through the set, with Tejada providing bongo-style drums while Bell threw in some old-school Chicago house. After a quick fake out, they finished their set smoothly, in stark contrast with last night's MÉTROPOLIS event, where it was more about being in your face than in your head. Neither of them was better or worse — they simply showcased the important and necessary dualities inherent in electronic music, perfectly encapsulating the MUTEK ethos.