Pursuit Grooves MUTEK, Montreal QC, August 23
Published Aug 24, 2018Strangely, Pursuit Grooves' set opened with what sounded like vocals from "Day Dreaming" by Aretha Franklin, but since there was some gnarled, sluggish percussion moving into the fold at the same time, it's not entirely certain. Actually, we can't even say strangely with confidence — Pursuit Grooves (aka Vanese Smith) has been Toronto's go-to for oddball sounds in recent years, making strange the norm.
She rolled out the playful pinball ripples of "Purple Shield" early on before moving on to some creaking industrial sounds. It was still miles away from actual industrial music, however: this was simply too warm and jazzy for that. Every beat in Smith's performance seemed off-kilter but somehow managed to enhance the melodies too. Some weird percussion on one track made it seem all the more effervescent, while an equally unorthodox beat on another seemed to enhance its creepiness. It was interesting set, and one that was very hard to pin down, but if we were to slap a label on it, then downtempo IDM with a bucolic hip-hop sheen will have to do.