Lady Starlight and Surgeon MUTEK, Montreal QC, August 25

Lady Starlight and Surgeon MUTEK, Montreal QC, August 25
Photo: Ashutosh Gupta for MUTEK

Lady Starlight and Surgeon took the stage for Red Bull Music Academy's Nocturne 4: Widescreen Macheen Dreems at Metropolis last night (August 25) to produce a sweaty and violently stroboscopic rave that is sure to become part of techno folklore.
The blue and red lights were powerful enough to cause whiplash, and the only sigh of relief from the throbbing pulse of the drums was the wicked thrash of the hats' high frequencies, their resonance tearing through the cavernous space.
The legendary artists brought back the sonic and experiential qualities of a proper 90s rave in a way few others could even attempt, displaying riveting sonic chemistry and unpredictability. Patching their machines like mad scientists, they wove through the set with incredible fluidity and cohesion. To watch them extract analog techno from their respective machines was astounding enough — but the fact that the show was also an improvised is a testament to the undeniable mastery these two boast in modular synthesis.
There is something magical in witnessing two tiny people and their machines stage onstage, casting such a powerful influence on a massive crowd of people. It was a primal call to action, and the movement of the dance floor was animalistic, unhinged and tireless.
Surgeon and Lady Starlight transformed the dance floor into a sensorial incubator, with a churning pulse and propulsive energy that was expressive and amorphous, yet postured and ruthless. As they extracted raw techno live from their parallel synthesizers onstage, it was impossible not to get lost in the atmosphere. Even amidst the crowd, other audience members seemed to disappear — leaving just heat and the throbbing pulse of hard, fast techno.