NXNE 2013 Preview: Electronic
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NXNE 2013 Preview: Electronic

Ryan Hemsworth and Blue Hawaii top a small, but strong, list of electronic artists.

Electronic music isn’t really a genre so much as a catch-all for everything from dreamy synthpop to screeching, aggressive brostep. That said, we’ve managed to put together a few key synth-and-drum machine-type acts that you should make a point of checking out at this year’s festival, ranging from indie-rocker side projects to one of the year’s most talked about remix artists.


When: Thursday, June 13, 10 p.m.
Where: The Hoxton (69 Bathurst Street)

Way back in 2005, Montreal producer and DJ Ghislain Poirier started a club night called Bounce Le Gros, where he spun club music from around the world, mashing together everything from soca to grime to Baltimore club. The night became a phenomenon before shutting down in 2007. Since then, Poirier has begun combining all those sounds into one intoxicating, ass-shaking, brilliant mess. He’s made a soca record, a dancehall record, and a rave-influenced album, and is generally thought of as a bit of a mad sound scientist. If you’ve never seen him before, you’re missing out.

Go if: You want to get really sweaty and possibly make out with a stranger.

Your Pretend Boyfriend

When: Thursday, June 13, 11 p.m.
Where: Johnny Jackson (587 College Street)

YPB’s bio describes him as “a one man audio/video wrecking machine.” We just think he makes weird, glitchy music that we can’t stop listening to.

Go if: You need something wrecked with audio.

Blue Hawaii

When: Thursday, June 13, 1 a.m.
Where: Comfort Zone (480 Spadina Avenue)

Simultaneously pretty and driving, Blue Hawaii are pretty much everything you’d ever want in a synthpop band. The duo, which is fronted by Braids’ Raphaelle Standell-Preston, is able to get crowds eating from their hands with their mix of hypnotic loops and pop hooks.

Go if: You like things that sound like Grimes.

Abstract Random

When: Thursday, June 13, 1 a.m.
Where: May (876 Dundas Street West)

Profoundly weird self-described “electro dubhop” trio Abstract Random have been combining the politically outspoken with the straight-up absurd for a while now, and we dig it. Their live shows often involve people running around in giant papier mâché heads, and that’s enough for us.

Go if: You want things to get weird.

Ryan Hemsworth

When: Saturday, June 15, 1 a.m.
Where: BLK BOX (1087 Queen Street West)

Halifax producer Ryan Hemsworth is at the forefront of the cloud-rap trend. In the last 12 months, he’s become one of the most sought-after remix artists around, and has reworked songs by everyone from Grimes to Lil B to Lana Del Rey. His original productions blur the lines between rap instrumental and electronic experiments, and his big, expansive soundscapes, dense layers of synths, and dramatic builds work equally well when backed with a house-music thump or a skittering hi-hat.

Go if: You want to see whether his studio wizardry translates to his live shows.

See also:

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