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5 reasons why Foundry will change Toronto's electronic scene

Posted by Aubrey Jax / February 14, 2013

Foundry FestivalThis March, Toronto's electronic scene will change forever. A new, month long series called Foundry will take over BLK BOX (formerly Black Box Theatre) at the Great Hall, and over the course of eight nights and five weekends feature sets by (deep breath): Juan Atkins (Model 500), Shlohmo, Omar S, Martyn, Bicep, D33J, Andy Stott, Andres, DVS1, Alixander III (Azari & III), Kevin McPhee, Deebs, Gingy, Reference, Nautiluss, Bruce Trail (Nacho Lovers), HDIMYF, Harrison Bennett, Box of Kittens, Martin Fazekas, Fabio Palermo, Mymanhenri, Members Only, Mike Gibbs, Lapelle, Michael Krochak, David Patterson, and Colin Bergh.

While Foundry programmers plan to deliver an "immersive, multi-sensory experience for our city's music lovers," we have a hunch the series also promises a lot more: a new mold for the city's electronic scene. Here's our thinking on why Foundry could be Toronto music's miracle.

E is for Effort

Putting together a series on any scale is a ton of work, which makes Foundry that much more impressive. There are fine details here one could spend a week poring over as each night promises a different sound and vibe, programmed by 92 BPM, Box of Kittens, Breakandenter, Colin Bergh, Elastic Artists, Evening Standard, HDIMYF, Idol Hanse, I Love Bass Music, Mansion, Surefire Agency, and The Windish Agency.

Foundry explains that the lineups were created by "a team made up of DJs, music promoters, bloggers, and art directors brainstorming to create an exciting mix of carefully programmed nights. All too often festivals will book incompatible artists in neighboring time slots, resulting in jarring transitions. In turn, we decided to forego the traditional festival model (weekends with stacked line-ups) and went for a series of carefully crafted showcases.

Featured artists include a mix of influential legends Juan Atkins, Omar S, Andres, Martyn, and DVS1, as well Andy Stott, Bicep, and Shlohmo, who have all broken ground in their own way - giving music lovers a cohesive, but unique experience for each night of the series. While individual tastes may vary, we all share a similar vision for our city - we hope to see Toronto become an international hotbed for innovation in electronic music."

This kind of dedication to detail makes our spines tingle, and is also necessary for building a solid community based on respect and trust.

There's something for everyone

Feeling a little overwhelmed by the lineup (and imagining some fans might be too), I got the promoters to throw some key words plus artist picks at us. "Lo-fi, Psychedelic Hip-Hop"? Shlohmo. What about "Godfather of Techno"? Juan Atkins. There's "Detroit Underground Legend/Label Boss" Omar S, the "Emotional, Textured Grooves" of Andy Stott, and "3024 Labelboss/Hybrid-Genre Pioneer" Martyn. You can also expect "Retro-Sleaze House Crate-Diggers" BICEP, "Timeless Disco/House/Hip Hop" Andres, and "New School Berghain Techno" courtesy of DVS1.

foundry toronto festivalThe sound (and vision)

Each Foundry event will take place at BLK BOX, where fans can now enjoy a brand new Funktion One Soundsystem (we understand this to mean both "Loud" and "Awesome"). Back to details and extras again: Foundry's multi-sensory experience will include digital art installations.

Foundry hints at bigger and better things to come

The ambitious figureheads behind Foundry have hinted in the past that Toronto deserves a festival akin to Montreal's Mutek or Barcelona's Sónar. They tell us this March series is inspired by MOMA's summertime PS1 Warm Up series in New York, The Warehouse Project in Manchester, and Piknic Electronique in Montreal.

Bringing high profile and respected artists to Toronto for an event of this scale is not only a great advantage for Toronto music fans: it will get word out to international artists and labels that Toronto's electronic community can support, and demands, this type of event and more.

foundry toronto festivalSurprises!

Well, they wouldn't be surprises if I told you, but let's just say that you don't want to miss Foundry's closing night.

Bonus: cuties

As spring approaches, Toronto will be warming up. Dress for a Mansion show at its most magical.

What to expect! (courtesy of Foundry)

  • Talented international and local acts
  • One of the best sounding rooms in the city, courtesy of the BLK BOX's brand new Funktion One
  • A unique music experience each night and new immersive visual installations each weekend
  • An open-minded crowd of music-lovers dancing and having a great time


Do not expect

  • A Bottle Service crowd

Foundry runs every weekend at BLK BOX from March 1st - 30th. Check out week-by-week lineup descriptions, tickets, events links and more on the Foundry website or their Facebook page.

Photos by Conrad McGee-Stocks. Top photo by Javin Lau.

*Fourth paragraph has been amended at request of the programmers.

Discussion

66 Comments

lol / February 14, 2013 at 10:57 am
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Andres, DVS1, Martyn .... Newcomers??!!!! You pretty much admitted right here that this is a fluff piece and you have NO idea about electronic music in general, these 3 artists are pretty much some of the most influence and acclaimed artist in their respective sub genres and have been for over a decade, but then again what do I & discogs know other than old Andres records for the 90s going for hundreds of dollars, or Martyn pretty much help start the whole dubstep movement
lol x 2 / February 14, 2013 at 11:17 am
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All this is, is a weekly at the same venue. This is not a festival and it is not some amazing accomplishment for the city. Footwork has weekly parties, Wrongbar has weekly parties, Hoxton has weekly parties. This is another weekly except where the others last 12 months, Foundry lasts for one. Big deal! And I'm pretty sure most of these artists have been to Toronto before. As said above - this is a fluff piece
chris replying to a comment from lol x 2 / February 14, 2013 at 11:23 am
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sorry how is this not a festival? by your definition festivals don't exist because most clubs throw parties every weekend. be more specific.
lol x 3 / February 14, 2013 at 11:37 am
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Whatever I'm excited.
wow / February 14, 2013 at 12:31 pm
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Other than the bit in the title about electro, this looks great. Looking forward to the installations
lol x 4 / February 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm
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get ur panties out of a bunch. it's like a pop up club. well curated, proper sound (ya the hoxton and wrongbar have weeklies but they both also have vastly under utilized soundsystems and it's pretty annoying paying 20 bucks entry to barely be able to hear the acts), unique and surprising visual installations, and a great party space. the festival idea is a bit looser than your traditional concepts, but being able to buy a pass for the whole month really lends itself to the cohesiveness of the concept.
Rob replying to a comment from lol x 2 / February 14, 2013 at 12:41 pm
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pretty sure this is better than anything than anything happening at the hoxton or wrongbar right now... but if youd prefer to listen to artists you like in venues with bad sound by all means
lol x 2 / February 14, 2013 at 01:10 pm
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sure the sound systems are not as great as black box but that wasn't my point. I just don't see how this changes the electronic music scene in Toronto when other venues and promoters program weekly parties 12 months of the year. If footwork put out a poster of their parties for the month of march does that make it a festival? Also why wouldn't mansion uses other venues like the church? Using other venues would have made this more interesting.
Konrad Droeske replying to a comment from lol x 2 / February 14, 2013 at 01:37 pm
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Hey, there's a number of reasons we decided to go with the BLK BOX instead of a Church, Chinese restaurant or whatever...

- The most obvious was the soundsystem. We wanted to take advantage of the city's only properly tuned Funktion One. Those that attended Jacques Greene were absolutely blown away by how loud and clear it was.

- Because it was a former theatre it has the infrastructure (trusses, high ceilings, a second floor) to create truly immersive installation pieces. We've been experimenting a lot lately with lighting and projections, and have big things planned for each week.

- The space has the right vibe. It's dark, warehouse-style look matches perfectly with the artists we've booked. And there are thousands of people who have still not been who would appreciate it.

Lastly, we never claimed this was a festival. We were inspired by series-based events such as Piknic Electronic, Moma PS1 and the Warehouse Project. We can only hope to one day emulate their success, but this is the start of something different for our city.
Konrad Droeske / February 14, 2013 at 01:43 pm
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Sorry for the double post, I thought it crashed while I submitted and wrote up a second one haha.
krash / February 14, 2013 at 01:48 pm
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What changed the electronic music scene happened 15 years ago with Industry. Good luck trying to emulate that.
gr1 / February 14, 2013 at 01:54 pm
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who wants to emulate what happened 15 years ago? yeesh.
jeff / February 14, 2013 at 01:56 pm
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This is a great concept with awesome artists and an impressive venue. I can't begin to express how God awful the Hoxton/Wrongbar are, so this is definitely a welcomed addition to the electronic scene.

As for "changing Toronto's electronic scene"...doubtful. That takes years of establishing a music/club culture, people that truly enjoy the music and don't just go for the "scene" (a weakness in this city), a party that doesn't shut down at 2am and multiple events of this kind, not a one-off project by a promoter. Electro house and neon - that's Toronto's electronic scene and will take a while to change...

That said, this is a great start and I'm expecting nothing but a great execution...Mansion have done some impressive things.
jorts moreso / February 14, 2013 at 01:58 pm
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foundry marks a shift indeed. i expect there'll be a ton of the usual blogto commenters showing up to be the boring naysayers, so let me get this in early - thanks to all the people involved in foundry for making this happen. i don't care if it's a festival or not, i don't care that it's in the same venue. i care about quality music and quality sound and foundry is bringing that. with some thoughtful installations of the interior a variety of environments can be created so that it's novel each time over the course of a month.

wrongbar has shit sound, every fucking time. footwork brings in great acts but everything surrounding that place is not good. curating a series of world class electronic performers over the course of a month certainly marks a shift in the electronic scene in toronto, especially due to the amount of collaboration it requires between all the disparate communities here. as a ten+ year listener and dancer in this city, i welcome it whole heartedly.
marmar replying to a comment from krash / February 14, 2013 at 02:06 pm
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change often happens more than once.
j-rock replying to a comment from krash / February 14, 2013 at 02:07 pm
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I love(d) Industry, but the large-scale parties (Dose, Better Days, Syrous, Nitrous) that began around 20 years ago were more influential than anything that happened there (as amazing at it was). That said, I think Foundry has a lot of potential.
cosmosuave / February 14, 2013 at 02:08 pm
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Will any of these artist be playing a Live Pa (Hardware set) or just DJ'g... I swear it did mention all live sets...
Nancy replying to a comment from cosmosuave / February 14, 2013 at 02:12 pm
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Hey Cosmosuave, not all the artists are playing Live PA, that is a mistake in the article that they will be correcting soon.

The live artists are Andy Stott, Reference, and Bruce Trail.
will_knots / February 14, 2013 at 02:20 pm
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Good bookings/artists, yes, revolutionary, no. As someone else already said, this is just a string of shows in the same month.

The fact that other bars (wrongbar, etc) have shit sound doesn't really speak to whats happening here (and i wouldn't call footwork a club with shit sound either) unless you think equipping a venue with a proper p.a. is a game changer.

Bleep Bloop / February 14, 2013 at 02:20 pm
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To all of you bashing the sound system at Wrongbar; you must be unaware that they also have a Funktion one system? While it may not be "perfectly tuned" it definitely does not deserve to be compared to the shitty Hoxton system. Now THAT is an awful sound system.
digital / February 14, 2013 at 02:33 pm
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Finally realizing Great Hall's real potential, this is exciting to see.
zoo/ps / February 14, 2013 at 02:52 pm
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I was at the Jacques Greene night, Mansion you are doing it right. A month long pop-up event isn't going to change the scene, but it's a bright spot in an already vibrant city, so kudos on doing something unique. I'm not fluffing, I'm genuinely excited to check out a few of the nights. I'm glad that Mansion has complemented the efforts of breakandenter and box of kittens, who themselves are simply a continuation of fukhouse, and earlier industry. Music curation and a unique customer experience come first.
bloop bleep replying to a comment from Bleep Bloop / February 14, 2013 at 02:54 pm
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funktion one or not, hoxton has way better sound than wrongbar. the sound at wrongbar is just terrible.
PRTYHRT replying to a comment from gr1 / February 14, 2013 at 02:56 pm
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what what! GR1 with the real talk!
I hear they're re-releasing Speed in theaters alter this month too.. Want to check it out?
Bleep Bloop replying to a comment from bloop bleep / February 14, 2013 at 03:00 pm
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Are you deaf? The Hoxton uses 2 (maybe 4?) shitty JBL's. Is that you Kenny? LOL.
rmff / February 14, 2013 at 03:19 pm
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most excited i've been for a month in music in Toronto for a long while, and that's coming from a grumpy guy who hates going out
Konrad Droeske replying to a comment from Bleep Bloop / February 14, 2013 at 03:21 pm
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I'm well aware of the Funktion One at Wrongbar and it was unfair to say it was not properly tuned. Any issues with the the sound there are a result of annoying neightbours.

Luckily with the BLK BOX we have a great underground space where we can really push the volume levels.
Bleep Bloop replying to a comment from Konrad Droeske / February 14, 2013 at 03:40 pm
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That wasn't meant for you as I do agree they could use a tuning. You and your team have proven your expertise time and time again. I look forward to hearing you guys really use the Funktion one to it's advantage.

The comment was directed at the idiots unaware that Wrongbar is using the same grade sound system. Their comparison to the Hoxton is laughable and if their ears worked at all they would notice a big difference between the two.
dovercourt / February 14, 2013 at 03:59 pm
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I'm sure the neighbours of the Great Hall are going to love this. Does Great Hall / Black Box even have an entertainment licence?
gr1 replying to a comment from dovercourt / February 14, 2013 at 04:09 pm
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the social across the street ran for five years without one. not really a compelling argument against blk box.
jeff replying to a comment from dovercourt / February 14, 2013 at 04:16 pm
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Stop being so soft...entertainment licenses are the reason Toronto's nightlife is so damn boring and limited, which is exactly what this event is looking to change. Same goes with neighbour complaints and alcohol permits.
dovercourt replying to a comment from gr1 / February 14, 2013 at 04:20 pm
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and the city made them switch from a club to a pub...
tony award / February 14, 2013 at 04:57 pm
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good bookings, good idea, terrible design on the posters/branding. im going either way. happy valentines day you sex machines
gorgonzola / February 14, 2013 at 05:01 pm
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leave it to fucking people from toronto to find a way to complain about EVERYTHING

this is a great list of djs/producers + promising venue + great sound.

what the fuck is your problem?
gil replying to a comment from gorgonzola / February 14, 2013 at 05:11 pm
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I wouldn't say its toronto as much as the fact that an anonymous comment thread is bound to attract a troll or two.
lolx5 / February 14, 2013 at 05:40 pm
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I think the goal to change the scene in someway to make it better is good. But to have multiple articles talking about it can come off as a bit arrogant. It's better to allow people to decide what you brought to the table rather than you declaring it on your own.

However, for anybody to say this series isn't influential is completely oblivious to how things work. A multitude of influence can be had with only one special event. Some of the most famous event stories are series that only spanned a few parties long. Take the "Storm Raves" for example. They have been attributed by some to be one of the most influential factors in bringing techno to NY at the time. Adam X claims there was only a handful of those events that ever occurred. Another case of this was the M42 tunnel raves that Steve Lawler hosted.

From what I understand Wrongbar does not have a full Funktion 1 sound system. Part of it is by another company. As far as the tuning is regarded, I would agree with the above posts. It sounds like shit. Like most places in Toronto. However BlkBox isn't the only place with a full and properly tuned Funktion 1 system. Maison has one too. From my understanding it was installed and tuned properly by the people at Funktion 1. This is not the only good sound system in town. Yet one of the few. Huge props to club owners for making the choice to have it.

My only complaint thus far is that the event ends too early.

Otherwise I am very excited. I am looking forward most to DVS1.
Konrad replying to a comment from lolx5 / February 14, 2013 at 06:00 pm
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We're going to try our best to keep the nights going late - especially DVS1. Forgot about Maison's F1, we don't end up in that hood very often.
Mandem & Tandem / February 14, 2013 at 06:05 pm
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gonna be frikkin sick buddy!
Chubbs / February 14, 2013 at 06:37 pm
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Holy shit, everyone just needs to chill out in here.

Its a bunch of great parties, with awesome promoters all coming together to be a part of something bigger. Who cares about nitpicking over other bars soundsystems and how influental it will all be to the "scene"?

Lets just all have a few drinks, dance a bit and not take things too seriously.

Props to all involved in putting this together, I can't wait for March!
gr1 replying to a comment from dovercourt / February 14, 2013 at 07:04 pm
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i assure you that was not at the behest of the city/a bylaw enforcer. see nyood (the upstairs), right next door.
PARKDALE IS LEAKING replying to a comment from dovercourt / February 14, 2013 at 07:05 pm
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omg, was PABST too busy to sponsor this?
Trev / February 14, 2013 at 07:51 pm
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Warehouse Project isn't so much a festival as a legalized warehouse rave. Been there, done that.

(and it's abso-fscking-loutly mental -- I preferred the Store St location, but Victoria Warehouse isn't bad. It's like being an old school rave either way)
Joseph / February 14, 2013 at 08:34 pm
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Articles like this are the reason why Blog TO isa joke. This is simply a blatant promotional ad for this party. I wouldn't be suprised if whoever wrote this works for them.
Malcolm / February 14, 2013 at 09:37 pm
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I'm just happy there's more than tech house and minimal now. I'm happy there's more than just clubs and parties that are rammed to the tits with people where you can't dance. Better sound would be good.

Ever heard the track "your club went Hollywood"? Overpriced drinks, parking, photographers everywhere and cover that is really expensive for just one headliner and two openers ice never heard of.

I'm glad people are working together. There are a lot of people doing great things. It's awesome to see this happening in toronto because it's not just more of the same.
twits / February 14, 2013 at 10:24 pm
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Black Box Theatre was too har to tweet! think of all the wasted letters! what are we gonna do? BLK BOX FTW!
steve replying to a comment from Joseph / February 14, 2013 at 11:54 pm
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or maybe you're just an asshole? for someone with so little respect for the blogTO it's interesting to see you take the time to read and comment.
Pavel / February 15, 2013 at 12:12 am
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Can all you haters shut the fuck up. Do you have nothing better to do? How can you not be stoked to see these acts ???

This is an amazing deal. Most of these Artists would never be booked in Toronto because of the business side of booking unique acts and the shitty attendance / appreciation for electronic music in Toronto.

This is a massive step in the right direction. I fully support this. Stop looking at the past, or comparing this shit to other venues. This is a great concept and more so a great example of how many Toronto individuals can join forces.
Connor / February 15, 2013 at 09:37 am
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Around 3 Negative comments, 44 positive. The positive speak for themselves. This is definitely something worth checking out.
John / February 15, 2013 at 11:39 am
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This is good for the Toronto scene but this article is a bit too biased. These events aren't going to change Toronto's electronic scene. Let's be honest, if you do your research you'll know these guys aren't the only ones booking talent that would normally never be booked in Toronto. There are other event organizers also trying to make a change in the city. These guys aren't the only ones. They're just using a different style of marketing approach at a new venue.

That being said, I wish them the best of luck! It's nice to see people working together. Very happy to see a new venue being used with a proper system (too bad it closes at 3am) again, if you want to change the scene you have to change the by-laws first. Hopefully there won't be issues and this place will not become a target like every other place in Toronto has.
Marc / February 17, 2013 at 09:05 am
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Rather than going late, why not open earlier, and have headliners begin earlier? The music lovers will show up, and the event owners will see more revenue.

Good luck with the events. Personally, I'm more excited about the local talent.
Aaron / February 17, 2013 at 10:37 pm
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So, 14 years after MUTEK, 11 years after Piknic Electronik (and MEG, Elektra, Igloofest, Kinetik, etc.) get the ball rolling in Montreal, someone in Toronto finally decides to 'innovate' and come up with a wannabe event?

Very good!

And you wonder why we're still using subway tokens...

Yaz / February 27, 2013 at 05:42 pm
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Can everyone here stop using this article as a means to portray their knowledge of Toronto's electronic music scene/history. And also the relative standing of Hoxton vs. Wrong bar vs. Blk box sound system.

It's a great lineup, it's a unique concept, a new venue, lots of people are excited about it, lots of people are going to go and lots of people are going to have a good time -- and that's fact.

On a separate thread we can discuss optimal term to describe it (i.e., festival vs. event series) and optimal number of articles to promote it (e.g. from a comment " we don't need five articles to promote it")...
Matt / February 28, 2013 at 06:32 pm
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haha people arguing over the best soundsystem, best club, who's undeground, why toronto sucks. what a fucking joke. lest we all forget the real roots of rave culture. all that shit just takes us steps back. especially when mansion is throwing events like this, to take these steps forward in order to build a strong foundation for the future.
Khristopher / March 1, 2013 at 01:42 am
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Cool idea, but man kids these days listen to awful electronic music. What happened to all the good stuff!? This boring minimal techno makes me want to yawn.
Fred replying to a comment from Aaron / March 5, 2013 at 06:19 pm
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Aaron, your post seems like a typical jaded Toronto response, but you're absolutely right, it has taken that long for Toronto's underground to change a generation and leave all the chin stroking 90s ravers behind. This is not what it was, this is what it is and going to be! Wise up, bud!!!
Pat replying to a comment from lol / March 25, 2013 at 05:58 pm
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Uhh... Martyn is a great producer, no doubt, and certainly made a name for himself, but he wasn't that instrumental in developing dubstep. That would be people like Hatcha, Youngsta, Skream, Benga, the Digital Mystikz and Loefah. There are a lot of other names that would fall on that list before Martyn (no disrespect intended, I'm a fan, but that's simply not accurate).

And DVS1's first release was 2009 (according to the Discog's you so kindly cited). He definitely hasn't been around a decade.

Check your facts before you start bitching about other people not knowing their stuff.
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Game will run however long people want to play. I will try to make it there myself. The more the merrier!
Shedster / February 18, 2014 at 04:40 pm
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techgnome / February 18, 2014 at 04:50 pm
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Love all this pseudo "back in my day" vibe. Making derivative comparisons to festivals that you've only heard about through blogs and weren't old enough to attend in the first place hardly adds inches to your cock. Good line-up, great concept, sometimes I think people purposely make it difficult for themselves to enjoy anything at the risk of damaging their online cred.

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