Rival Consoles MAC Salle Principale, Montreal QC, May 29

Rival Consoles MAC Salle Principale, Montreal QC, May 29
Photo: Trung Dung Nguyen
Leave it to MUTEK to bring an unsung gem like Rival Consoles to the stage. Consoles, aka Ryan Lee West, has been around for years, but seems to have stayed well under the radar, only releasing a handful of EPs and two albums on Erased Tapes Records. His tidy back catalogue is a goldmine of ambient techno and IDM treats, which were even more impressive when performed live at the MAC.
West started slow, allowing the performance to suck in the audience with gradual builders, such as the beautiful "3 Chords" and "Everything All at Once." While Rival Consoles could have gotten away with a subdued set — especially considering the crowd's willingness to expect anything and the festival's artistic openness — he upped the tempo after while, slowly and skilfully. The set was rife with moody techno, vocal shimmerings and even some dubstep —not your average wobbly nonsense, more of a detailed, sub-sonic grind than anything.
The fact that many of West's tracks have a certain brooding quality to them, and an almost impish twang, kept everyone on their toes for his MUTEK set, as the crowd were contemplating as much as they were booty-shaking.