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Unsound Toronto

Unsound Toronto is Back!

June 10 – 11, 2016


Unsound Toronto, the “music festival like no other” that “sets the bar for future music fests in Toronto,” is back to present a pioneering program even wider in scope, turning the Hearn into a sonic playground with two electrifying nights of music and technology.

A two-day, genre-spanning, beautifully curated exploration of experimental sound

— BlogTO
Drawing on more than a decade's experience in connecting sound and architecture via unique spaces, Unsound Toronto creates a journey including ambient soundscapes, noise, drone metal, pounding techno and the most contemporary fractured club music. 


“Unsound sets the bar for future music fests in Toronto”
– BlogTO
“Every single droner, noise-head, and dance fan who made it out to the Port Lands were buzzing for weeks afterward over the impression made by the massive, dilapidated structure itself … Best fest of the year.”
– Chart Attack

Participating Artists

June 10 - Amnesia Scanner (FIN)
June 10 Amnesia Scanner (FIN)
Amnesia Scanner (FIN)
Friday, June 10 // 11 PM // Side Room
June 10 - Amnesia Scanner (FIN)
June 10 - The Bug (UK)
June 10 The Bug (UK)
The Bug (UK)
Friday, June 10 // 1:20 AM // Music Stage

The Bug first came to be in 1997, when producer Kevin Martin collaborated with DJ Vadim on ‘Tapping The Conversation’. Having spent the years since London Zoo, his critically acclaimed debut release for Ninja Tune which dropped in 2008, The Bug is remerging, and he’s back with a Roland TB-303 in hand, and an 808 under his arm, detonating a new genre and sub-label : Acid Ragga. But this isn’t your parents second coming of the summer of love acid. This time there will be no smiley faces, no ecstasy, and no future. The world is truly fucked and Kevin Martin can always be relied on to soundtrack armageddon time. Rather, this dystopian acid takes influence from pioneers like Stakker’s ‘Humanoid’ , Plastikman, Phuture’s ‘Cocaine/Your Only Friend’, Aphex Twin etc and twists it into Kevin’s own perverted take on classic dancehall. Harkening back to when Sleng Teng refined Jamaican music as we know it, the Acid Ragga imprint will forever scar the face of raggamuffin reggae. 

June 10 - The Bug (UK)
June 10 - Flowdan (UK)
June 10 Flowdan (UK)
Flowdan (UK)
Friday, June 10 // 1:20 AM // Music Stage

With a career that's spanned the best part of two decades, Flowdan is one of the most easily recognisable characters in British urban music. A certified cult figure, the East London MC has had a career which has ran the entire timeline of grime. Blessed with a booming voice, Flowdan's guttural yardstyle delivery with his flow became instantly identifiable amongst the static and anarchy of grime's early-2000s pirate radio presence. The Original Dan has gone on to feature plenty with The Bug, carving a niche for himself when it come to ragga-infused dubstep and dark war-ready grime where rolling basslines provide perfect soundtracks for his distinctive flow. He has continued to gig across the world at festivals and club nights and build a reputation as a phenomenal live performer With recent releases on Metalheadz and Hyperdub, Flowdan has shown himself to be an artist that stands in his own light. He is now ready to release his debut album on Tru Thoughts in 2016.

June 10 - Flowdan (UK)
June 10 - Miss Red (IL)
June 10 Miss Red (IL)
Miss Red (IL)
Friday, June 10 // 1:20 AM // Music Stage

Miss Red bust outta Haifa Israel, when she grabbed the mic at an impromptu Bug set in Tel Aviv 2011. Already a member of the ’80’s dancehall obsessed, Easy Rider crew, she and her fellow reggae addicted posse, had spent teenage years cuttin teeth playing sound system shows in Israel. But when she hit record decks hard with ‘Diss Mi Army’ in 2012, released on The Bug’s Acid Ragga imprint (thru Ninja Tune), her sights were set on global domination. Inspired by the likes of Sister Nancy, Lady Ann and Toyan, her love of dancehall’s golden age of microphone murderers, ensured her infectious chatting on the mic, captured the ears of audiences in Europe and America. Miss Red jumped stages with her live band 3421, and The Bug, regularly over the last 4 years. Sharon Stern aka MissRed, drops her first mixtape, ‘Murder’. With rhythmic heavy artillery, and lyrical guns blazing, the tape clearly indicates the ferocious potential of this pint sized MC. With releases planned for Necessary Mayhem, and Jahtari in 2016, Miss Red has ram raided public consciousness militantly, with a BIG BANG !

June 10 - Miss Red (IL)
June 10 - Elysia Crampton (USA)
June 10 Elysia Crampton (USA)
Elysia Crampton (USA)
Friday, June 10 // 11 PM // Side Room

Dissolution of The Sovereign: A Time Slide Into The Future - a special live performance and tour around her sophomore album Elysia Crampton presents: Demon City (with Chino Amobi, Why Be, Rabit, & Lexxi) out July 22nd via Break World

Elysia Crampton is a Bolivian-American sound artist that performs and speaks around the world. Her debut album, American Drift, was released in August 2015 to critical acclaim. Her new live show, Dissolution of The Sovereign: A Time Slide Into The Future, is a play that unfolds as a DJ production and performance that works alongside Demon City. The narrative follows Aymara Revolutionary Bartolina Sisa's limbs after they were severed, continuing from the perspective of the entrails as they turn into stone, petrified on a time slide into a distant future where the sun has gone out and trans humanoid arachnids have inherited a world free of the prison industrial complex. The work is Elysia's attempt to bridge the Aymara oral history tradition/theater legacy with her own trans femme abolitionist grasp of futurity, always amidst the cataclysmic, irreducible horizon of coloniality.

June 10 - Elysia Crampton (USA)
June 10 - Jlin (USA)
June 10 Jlin (USA)
Jlin (USA)
Friday, June 10 // 1 AM // Side Room

Gary based producer Jlin is stepping further into the light with a stunning eleven track debut album DARK ENERGY showcasing her unique and bold new sound. It's forceful, yet ripples with colour; it’s an intense, monolithic sound with rugged rhythms that stop and breathe and roll out in unusual staccato patterns. It’s a sound unlike any other out there, one that’s fiercely unique. Her album DARK ENEREGY is so called because of where it came from and how it came to be; the dark monolith on the cover also perfectly encapsulates it – “This album took my entire life to make. Every moment in my life led up to this album. My musical sense of expression comes from sadness, and anger. I can't create from a happy place. It seems pointless in my opinion. I don't make the tracks as much as I feel them. Creating for me is about feeling and impact.” Jlin is a true original with a hard, yet infectious style and an album that showcases it brilliantly.

June 10 - Jlin (USA)
June 10 - Kara-Lis Coverdale (CAN)
June 10 Kara-Lis Coverdale (CAN)
Kara-Lis Coverdale (CAN)
Friday, June 10 // 9:30 PM // Music Stage

Kara-Lis Coverdale is a Canadian composer and musician with omnivorous approach to sound. She creates colorful and dense arrangements that blur the line between the human and the machine with a unique penchant for long-form melody, harmony, and sonic detail. While firmly footed in a style that contrasts abstract electronics with crystalline synthesized melodies, her pieces also often contain arrangements for keyboards as she is a classical pianist by training and has been an organist and music director at several churches since she was 13. Following a 2014 release of pieces for processed voice, in 2015 Kara-Lis released a solo album Aftertouches, which was named best of the year by The Quietus, The Wire, and others. She also recently released a collaborative album with LXV called Sirens, is a frequent collaborator with fellow Montreal sonic immersionist Tim Hecker, and has produced for the R&B act How To Dress Well. Kara-Lis has been called “One of the most exciting young composers in North America” by the Guardian, and a unique navigator of the electronic world with “unearthly grace” by NPR.
June 10 - Kara-Lis Coverdale (CAN)
June 10+11 - MFO (DE)
June 10+11 MFO (DE)
Friday, June 10 // 9:30 PM // Music Stage
Saturday, June 11 // 10:30 + 11:35 PM // Music Stage

Bio coming soon
June 10+11 - MFO (DE)
June 10 - Lotic (USA)
June 10 Lotic (USA)
Lotic (USA)
Friday, June 10 // 12 AM // Side Room

Lotic is DJ and producer J'Kerian Morgan. Raised in Houston, Texas and now operating out of Berlin, Morgan is a resident at the city's famed Janus parties and in recent years has evolved into one of the most original voices of Berlin's club life. The 25-year-old released two EPs in 2013 - Sankofa / Glittering, and Fallout - both on Sci Fi & Fantasy, and has followed up with 2014's Damsel in Distress on Janus's own imprint. Having featured on Bjork's recent sit-in for Rinse FM alongside a flurry of press attention, the stereotype-baiting producer's first official outing, 2015's Heterocetera EP on Tri Angle, is undeniably worthy of the hype. His Berlin-via-Houston sound is an apocalyptic mix of haunting synth melodies, destructive beats, and skewed experimental electronica. In clubs Lotic is known to harness abstract leanings through hybrid live/DJ sets of gut wrenching bass and lurching Hip Hop rhythms, occasional shards of contemporary R&B splintered with tactile hi-hats, consistently swirling crowds into an unabashed party vortex.

June 10 - Lotic (USA)
June 10 - Raime (UK)
June 10 Raime (UK)
Raime (UK)
Friday, June 10 // 10:30 PM // Music Stage

Raime are Joe Andrews and Tom Halstead, a London-based duo seeking to re-establish electronic composition as a physical and emotionally inquisitive force. Since the turn of the decade, via a stunning debut album, three sold-out EPs and a string of imperious live outings, Raime have honed an aesthetic all of their own.
Raime’s second album, Tooth, arrives June 10, 2016 on 2xLP, CD and digital formats. Tooth is the sound of resistance and counter-attack: cunning, quick, resolute; calling upon stealth as much as brute-force. At a time when so many pay lip service to experimentation without ever fully committing themselves or their work to it, Raime return from three years of deep, dedicated studio research with a bold and original new music: staunch, rude, and way out in front.

June 10 - Raime (UK)
Cast placeholder image
June 10 RP Boo (USA)
RP Boo (USA)
Friday, June 10 // 2 AM // Side Room
For reasons beyond the festival and artist’s control, Rabih Beaini has had to cancel his appearances. Footwork pioneer RP Boo will play instead of Rabih Beani tonight.

The Chicago native and ‘Seed’ to Footwork (music) first started DJing underground house parties on the southside of Chicago. Back in the day (1992-1996), his respected sounds was so unique, that he noticed the crowd’s dance style change. Suddenly, Footwork dance style was created and recognized throughout the Chicago neighborhoods. RP has recently worked with the Unsound Festival 2013 (in Poland), other promoters in Japan, Spain, London, and cities within the US. RP Boo’s sound and style is known to grab your attention after he presses PLAY during his live performances because its guaranteed the music will leave the crowd no choice but groove to the abstract blends and chant BUUUUUUUUUU!

JUNE 10 - sunn o))) (USA/EU)
JUNE 10 sunn o))) (USA/EU)
sunn o))) (USA/EU)
Friday, June 10 // 11:45 PM // Music Stage

For sixteen years, Sunn O))) have been challenging the way we think about music. From 1999’s The Grimmrobe Demos to 2009’s Monoliths And Dimensions, core members Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson have forged connections between the worlds of Metal, Drone, Contemporary Composition, Jazz and Minimalism with startling results while remaining true to the eternal principles of volume, density and weight. Recently, Sunn O))) have established a Bandcamp page which serves as an exhaustive archive of their entire back catalogue, including rarities and essential live material, and February saw the long-awaited release of their collaborative album with Norway’s Ulver (Terrestrials). The current live line-up, consisting of Stephen O'Malley, Greg Anderson, Attila Csihar and Tos Nieuwenhuizen, is poised and ready to resume live activities. All hail.

JUNE 10 - sunn o))) (USA/EU)
June 11 - Alessandro Cortini (IT)
June 11 Alessandro Cortini (IT)
Alessandro Cortini (IT)
Saturday, June 11 // 9:30 PM // Music Stage

Italian-born composer and performer Alessandro Cortini is a musical voyager. Having spent considerable time performing lead electronics in addition to revisiting his initial instrumental forays in guitar for Nine Inch Nails and How to Destroy Angels, as well as continuing a solo project under the banner SONOIO (an Italian echo from "sono io" translating to "it's me"), Cortini released his first recordings under his given name with the Forse series of works created on the Buchla Easel for Important Records.

In 2014, Cortini began an ongoing series called Sonno for Dominick Fernow's Hospital Productions, a gorgeously "restrained yet oddly emotive" call-and-response with the Roland MC 202, playfully dancing out of the academically driven approaches that typically infiltrate the aesthetic of hardware enthusiasts. Under his Skarn alias (debut released on front line techno-experimentalist Shifted's Avian label in late 2014) Cortini once again displays his strengths as an interdisciplinary and incredibly talented producer and composer. Further works under the guise of Slumberman find spirit-collaborations with prominent techno/electronic label CLR and Den Haag's notorious Panzerkreuz series.

June 11 - Alessandro Cortini (IT)
June 11 - Ancient Methods (DE)
June 11 Ancient Methods (DE)
Ancient Methods (DE)
Saturday, June 11 // 2 AM // Side Room

Pitch black techno war funk

There's something about the fearsome crunch of Ancient Methods' sounds that defies dry technical description and demands that you go over the top, whether in talking about it or moving to it. Which isn't to say they make headbanging music - the "funk" part of their pitch black techno war funk is as important as anything, and their tracks have a good healthy dose of bump'n'grind running through them, even if that grinding is as much angle-grinder as bogling. The raw edges, thick-layered sound and general old-school soundsystem-in-an-industrial-building kick has leapt out amidst the minimal orthodoxy, creating a massive buzz over a few beautifully marbled pieces of vinyl with medieval etchings on the labels, and prompting suggestions of a new industrial forward movement in the techno scene. (FUCT)

June 11 - Ancient Methods (DE)
June 11 - Aurora Halal (USA)
June 11 Aurora Halal (USA)
Aurora Halal (USA)
Saturday, June 11 // 1 AM // Side Room

Aurora Halal is a producer, video artist, and creator of Brooklyn's Mutual Dreaming party series & the Sustain-Release festival. Shadowy & psychedelic, her hardware live & DJ sets have a hazy sensuality and metallic dance floor intensity, always pushing her compositions further into deep hypnotic states. She's spent the last years touring some of the most forward-thinking underground clubs and festivals including Unsound, Atonal, Stattbad, and more.

June 11 - Aurora Halal (USA)
June 11 - Evian Christ
June 11 Evian Christ
Evian Christ
Saturday, June 11 // 1:55 AM // Music Stage

It’s safe to say since his emergence at the tail end of 2011 Evian Christ, aka Joshua Leary, has had a whirlwind career. The Ellesmere Port, UK native has produced on Kanye West’s Yeezus, collaborated with acclaimed conceptual artist Matthew Barney, released the notably abstract sound-piece Duga-3, performed around the world alongside the likes of Purity Ring, Actress and Four Tet and garnering positive reviews and features in global tastemaker press including Details Magazine, Dazed & Confused, Pitchfork and VIBE amongst many others.

Most notably, Evian Christ has signed a publishing deal with Kanye West’s DONDA, where he will continue with his work as a producer. Having spent the past year experimenting and challenging himself, and in refusing to simply duplicate a sound that garnered him so much attention to begin with and led one of, if the not, the world’s biggest hip hop artists to seek him out, his latest EP Waterfall finds Evian Christ growing in confidence as a producer and continuing to elude any sort of easy categorization.

June 11 - Evian Christ
June 11 - Hot Shotz (UK/IT)
June 11 Hot Shotz (UK/IT)
Hot Shotz (UK/IT)
Saturday, June 11 // 12:50 AM // Music Stage

Hot Shotz is Powell and Lorenzo Senni, two of the most interesting deconstructionists of club music. Powell's sound relies heavily on post-punk and industrial aesthetics, forcing raw sounds into rigid structure of repetetive techno. Senni's sound comes from trance music and uses the same ecstatic palette, arpeggios and chords, omiting however the build-ups and release. 

June 11 - Hot Shotz (UK/IT)
June 11 - Olivia (PL)
June 11 Olivia (PL)
Olivia (PL)
Saturday, June 11 // 12 AM // Side Room

Olivia is a great believer in vinyl and pushing truth through mixing. She's been a key player in the Polish electronic music scene for 12 years, both solo and performing as the duo Chrono Bross, with her brother Kinzo Chrome. The pair work with an impressive collection of wax, housing some pearls that collectors dream of.

Olivia's success has spread thanks to her idiosyncratic track selection and her excellent technical skills - her sets are like no one else's and no two sets are alike. Through the raw and dark edges of techno, the liquid feel of acid, the deep reaches of cosmic, the simplicity of electro and the warmth of house, her sets shine with originality and a strong belief in the sound she delivers.

For now Olivia is taking a step into production and continuing her forward momentum in musical exploration. For Olivia, mixing and digging is life, a DJ's work is to shape tastes and not be distracted and diverted by fashion or trends. For her every piece of wax is a choice from the heart and another testament to her singular musical vision.

June 11 - Olivia (PL)
June 11 - Orphx (CAN)
June 11 Orphx (CAN)
Orphx (CAN)
Saturday, June 11 // 3 AM // Side Room

One of the most highly respected acts in both techno and industrial circles, Orphx have been developing their signature fusion of hypnotic rhythms and experimental noise for the past twenty years. Using modular and analog synthesizers, software, location recordings and feedback circuits, Rich Oddie and Christina Sealey draw upon the darker, psychedelic fringes of techno and combine these elements with the experimental aesthetics and themes of early industrial music.

Oddie and Sealey have performed throughout Europe and North America at celebrated venues like Berghain and Tresor as well as many notable international electronic music festivals such as Movement and Mutek. Their live performances are renowned for delivering improvised sets that combine software with modular synthesizer and other hardware.

Orphx has released nine full length albums and numerous singles on vinyl, CD, and cassette that have had a significant influence on many artists in the present wave of industrial techno. Building on a sprawling back catalogue that stretches across the divisions between industrial, ambient and techno, their recent outputs have demonstrated that Orphx is both a pioneer and an innovator in the powerful fusion of rhythm and noise.

June 11 - Orphx (CAN)
June 11 - Roly Porter (UK)
June 11 Roly Porter (UK)
Roly Porter (UK)
Saturday, June 11 // 10:30 PM // Music Stage

The Third Law 

Mankind will never travel to the stars.
Too long the journey, too weak the body.

But its drones will. Satellites will eventually reach the most distant places and become our eyes and ears in the skies. The Oculus Rift of the future is a mental connection between the traveller on earth and its avatar – a drone in deep space. Transmissions, modulated to match human brainwaves, allow direct communication, extending human senses into space. While its drone roams the skies the traveller dreams the journey.
This cerebral connection causes unforeseen incidents. The act of travelling turned from a physical into a mental endeavour means that every outward journey into space becomes an inward one – into the mind. Once the avatar ventures into unthinkable realms, how will the traveller's psyche understand the induced sensory input? When dreaming, memories and the unconscious reverberate with imaginary events; from past experiences we draw the picture of our own individual reality. When our senses are stimulated by solar storms, gamma rays and supernovae, what images will they evoke, how will deep space dreaming feel? 

The stage performance for the Third Law aims to build this experience. It alters the reality of the concert venue by the use of intense sound and video, heavy stroboscopic lights and stage fog. Visually the performances begins as an continuous journey through prototypical landscapes, seemingly infinite realms that feel increasingly surreal. The imagery suffers ongoing transformations, turning into a shivering phantasmagoria intensified by lighting effects. At it's climax, walls of noise and violent rhythms combine with a uniform stimulation of blinding light (Ganzfeld effect); this causes shapes and patterns to appear under the eyelid – a collective hallucinatory experience. 

An epilepsy warning is mandatory. 

June 11 - Roly Porter (UK)
June 11 - T’ien Lai (PL)
June 11 T’ien Lai (PL)
T’ien Lai (PL)
Saturday, June 11 // 11 PM // Side Room

T’ien Lai was founded in 2012 by Łukasz Jędrzejczak (So Slow, Alameda 5) and Kuba Ziołek (Stara Rzeka, Innercity Ensemble) as a result of them looking for new forms of meditative electronic and electro-acoustic music. The debut album Da’at, released by Monotype Records in 2013, was characterized by the sound of old PRL Śnieżka radio receivers, processed through guitar effects and imposed on synthesizer loops. The crowning of those adventures was well-received concerts at the Unsound Festival in Kraków (2012), and at Strefa Monotype in Warsaw (2014).

Since the beginning of 2015, T’ien Lai have been playing as a quartet; Rafał Kołacki (Hati, Innercity Ensemble, Mammoth Ulthana) and Mikołaj Zieliński (Alameda 3, Alameda 5, Rara) have now joined the lineup on drums and percussion. Jędrzejczak and Ziółek returned to clear synthetic sounds, which contrast with the organic sounds of live percussion. The result is music spread between quasi-shamanic trans, raw almost industrial rhythmic electronic music, and pastiches of modern techno. The quartet plays and improvises live with no computers.

June 11 - T’ien Lai (PL)
JUNE 11 - Tim Hecker (CAN)
JUNE 11 Tim Hecker (CAN)
Tim Hecker (CAN)
Saturday, June 11 // 11:35 PM // Music Stage

Few in the field of explorative ambient music have remained as questing and unclassifiable as Canadian composer Tim Hecker. Across his 15-year career he has moved through shades of reflective electronic noise, experiential sound design, and modern composition with a deft and distinguished touch. Even so, the past few years have seen a minor renaissance in his discography – time seems to be fortifying his palette, rather than fossilising it.

A small handful of the 15th century choral works by Josquin des Prez birthed the foundations of Love Streams, Hecker's newest opus. The musical tradition of cyclic, sacred composition developed and thrived for centuries before eroding under the grinding impatience of modernity. Now we stream more than we love. The current reality is that music too frequently resembles a product, or white noise. Tim Hecker belongs to a select camp actively resisting this undertow, this reduction in significance. His albums are personal statements and gestures of devotion. They are attempts to elevate – even with the stage poised to collapse.

JUNE 11 - Tim Hecker (CAN)
June 11 - Waclaw Zimpel (PL)
June 11 Waclaw Zimpel (PL)
Waclaw Zimpel (PL)
Saturday, June 11 // 10 PM // Side Room

Wacław Zimpel is the most imaginative clarinet player in Poland. He is recognized both in his homeland and internationally. Since the very beginnings of his musical career, his recordings and performances were a subject of many positive reviews in the press and he has been a recipient of numerous awards. The numerous, varied projects he has lead often appeal to the musical traditions of India, Japan, or Morocco, proving that he excels the most when facing a genuine challenge.

June 11 - Waclaw Zimpel (PL)

Creative Team

The infamous decommissioned Hearn Generating Station comes alive in the Toronto Port Lands for two electrifying nights of music and technology curated and commissioned by Unsound creators Mat Schulz and Malgorzata Plysa.

From its roots as a small underground festival in cellar clubs in Krakow, Poland, Unsound is an amorphous music festival that has become one of the world’s foremost events in electronic and experimental music, famed for discovering new artists and commissioning risk-taking projects. In addition to its flagship festival in Krakow, Unsound has four acclaimed editions under its belt, regularly taking place in New York, London and Adelaide.

Mat Schulz and Malgorzata Plysa

Dig Deeper

Unsound Toronto Playlist

Live Stream

NTS Radio will be taking Unsound Toronto global! They'll be on-site at the Hearn doing artist interviews and live-steaming. You'll be able to check out an archive online after the event too. Tune into their International channel during Unsound Toronto for the stream.

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