This podcast comes from Portland, OR based producer wndfrm. He recently performed at EM15 (MUTEK Montreal) and this is a recording of his live set from the Metropolis 1: ENTER.MUTEK//ENTER.MIND event. We caught up with wndfrm for a short interview.
Stream/Download the podcast above or visit the iTunes or Mixcloud links.
Dj Frequencies: This set was recorded live at EM15 (MUTEK Montreal) — this is your second time playing the festival, last year in 2013 and again this year. What has changed about MUTEK in that time? What has changed about your music?
wndfrm: Yes, that’s correct. Last year I participated in the PLAY series, along with my good friend and visual artist Mark Henrickson. I think the collaborative nature of EM15 (MUTEK and ELEKTRA) was very evident in the attention to detail… the bar seemed really high for visual art, in both performative and installed contexts. The use of the MAC ( Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal ) was really focusing and I think brought a lot of ‘weight’ and public exposure to the festival, really, job well done.
My music is always in a state of evolution and modularity, I have a growing pool of bits and pieces to draw from for my live sets, so this year brought some new textures and percussive elements that I haven’t used in the past. I don’t know if anything really ‘changes’ , except in the way I piece it together, which is guided by a loose framework but always open to interpretation and improvisation.
DjF: You played Richie Hawtin’s ENTER.MIND event this year at Metropolis with some amazing artists. Give us a feel for the atmosphere of the two separate rooms, the Main, and Savoy, where you played.
wndfrm: The main room was full of energy, what you might expect from the line-up, big sound, big lights, completely packed out and jumping. I caught part of TM404’s opening set, really nice to hear that on a big line array. I wasn’t able to catch much else in that room due to my own responsibilities, but the brief moments I caught were pretty much full-on floor-filling techno sets from both Houle and Hawtin. Looked like everyone was fully into the moment.
The Savoy (Mind) room was a stark, and intentional, contrast. It was a subdued escape from the energy of the main room, featuring experimental, ambient, and dub techno sounds from everyone participating. I loved Atheus’ set, really deep and lush, and Matthew Hawtin played a lot of deep favourites. I think the room was well utilized, people sitting down, hanging out in groups on the floor, etc.. definitely had a ‘chill room’ kind of vibe. I think this is a bit of a forgotten art, so it was nice to encounter a big party with an alternative space, and it was really nice to share my own work in this context.
DjF: Were you able to catch some other events or artists at EM15 that you enjoyed?
wndfrm: (Robert) Henke’s “Lumiere”, Segue, France Jobin, Robert Lippok, Shackleton, Kangding Ray, Markus Heckmann were some of my favourites this year.. also this guy playing disco-house on fruit in the Savoy one of the later nights.. that was great!!
The PLAY series is particularly engaging, as it seems to have the broadest aesthetic scope.. the A/Visons series is also a highlight for me, it’s so nice to hear and see these performances in a theatre context, not something you get everyday.
The concurrent exhibit at the MAC was engaging and relevant, it was really special to have this at the same time, it felt like the whole city was participating.. I especially enjoyed the outdoor installations in the “Place des Arts”.
DjF: You’ve played some other festivals including Seattle’s Decibel Festival a few years ago. Do you prefer a festival gig or more of a club gig, even though both Decibel and Mutek are spread out across multiple venues?
wndfrm:I think in general I mostly enjoy playing in spaces that are not typically activated in these ways, and allow for deep listening. Having said that, clubs can be great too, if they are open to more experimental use of their space, etc..
One really great thing about festivals is you get a very focused and specific crowd, so this really helps with the atmosphere in any of the venues. Everyone is generally there for the same reason. to enjoy the music.
DjF: Do your sets change from a festival gig to a club gig?
wndfrm: I like to tailor my sets to the given night, so that would include taking into consideration the venue, sound system available, aesthetic of the event, and even the city I am in. Also, if there is a considered visual collaboration, this comes into play. I like cohesive concurrent stimuli, so working in tandem with the visual performer is very important to me.
DjF: Your sets are somewhat of a journey incorporating ambient, dub techno, and what I would call atmospheric techno. Where do you see your music, as wndfrm, progressing in the future. Do you see it leaning more heavily towards any of these genres? Maintaining a good blend of all? Or something different all together?
wndfrm: All of the above? I like to explore, so it really just depends on what takes me at the moment. The live sets are a journey, as you say, and I think it’s something special to share that with others in the same room, at the same time. My live sets serve as a dub-wise rework of my recorded content, as well as distillation for newer sonic landscapes.
DjF: Your productions seem to be mostly ambient. You described in the FACT TV at MUTEK interview (below) that your productions, such as the c60/tmkutekt album, are “quite different” then what the audience would hear at MUTEK and your performances are incorporating more “movement” then in the past. Do you see your live performances, such as this one at MUTEK, influencing your productions in the future?
wndfrm: It’s all quite cyclical, so yes, you can expect to hear some of this stuff in recorded form in the future. The difference I was citing was really the static/immersive nature of the recording in question, which is something I don’t feel works as well in a club environment (with a noisy bar, etc..).. Perhaps MUTEK will have me back for an A/Visions showcase sometime in the future, that would be fun.
DjF: What can we expect next from wndfrm – Do you have any upcoming performances and/or releases?
wndfrm: I have some local performances scheduled, with a possibility of some more festival gigs this year, nothing confirmed just yet. Release-wise, things in the works, but nothing I can comment on just at the moment. I am expecting to release a fairly diverse scope of recordings, within the context of what you mentioned earlier.
DjF: Excellent. We will be looking forward to any upcoming shows and releases. Thanks for your time and this great set.