Culture | Metal, disco, and futuristic electro

Red Bull Music Academy sets foot in Montreal

The upcoming month is to be one of sleep deprivation, tough financial choices, cultural digestion, and sonic appreciation – even more so than during typical periods of Montreal’s vibrant and diverse music scene. October marks the return of the annual Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA). This year’s festival is headquartered in Phi Centre, the city’s Old Port cultural hub. From now until October 28, RBMA will be throwing down a dense and continuous set of eclectic events including workshops, conferences, concerts, club events, art shows and afterhour parties.

RBMA is a self-defined global music institution committed to fostering creativity in music that celebrates various cultures and the transformative minds behind them – principles that the institution has upheld for the past 18 years. This year’s lineup is as impressive as it is diverse and meticulously curated. In close collaboration with local cultural organisers such as Mutek, Never Apart, Turbo Crunk and Piknic Electronik, RBMA has shown that it seeks to integrate the Montreal art and music scene within its high-budget line-up of international artists. One can thus expect an interesting mix of local and international artists in this year’s events.

RBMA is […] committed to fostering creativity in music that celebrates various cultures.

The opening party at Mile-Ex venue Espace Reunion went on blissfully into the early hours of the morning with Aurora Halal, DJ Richard, and other great artists supplying the night with melodic techno and percussive sounds. The night was well organized, hopefully setting a precedent for the upcoming events.

On September 30, the Canadian ambient sound artist Tim Hecker played alongside the experimental, sample heavy Venetian Snares and a collection of Quebecois artists from the metal, noise, and drone scenes.

Chicago house legend Theo Parrish will close the last Piknic Electronik event on October 6, supported by two members of the pioneering Detroit Techno collective Underground Resistance, who will play a set that afternoon.

Vancouver-based label 1080p will have a takeover night at ArtGang Montreal on October 7, with locals Riohv, Adam Feingold, and Project Pablo playing their finest records. New York representative Max McFerren, Vancouver producer Ramzi, and rising Japanese talent Keita Sano will also be performing.

RBMA […] it seeks to integrate the [local] music scene within its high-budget line-up of international artists.

More notable dates include Björk, who will be performing DJ sets for two sold out shows on top of a virtual reality exhibit at the DHC/ART gallery; the Olympic pool being transformed into a futuristic electro party where Detroit’s Dopplereffekt will play a live set alongside DJ Stingray, who will be playing original productions by afro-futurist electronic group Drexciya; and an all-disco night in memory of Montreal’s golden 70s.

The list of interesting artists is endless, and interspersed between these shows are a series of educational talks and workshops, taking place at beautiful venues around the city.

One can only look hopefully toward the month to come. Red Bull Music Academy is staging an interesting retrospective for many genres while consistently showcasing a wide variety of talents.

Check out the full list of events at