Unsound Adelaide 2017 - Discourse Program

18-19 November
West Bar, UniSA City West Campus, 58-60 North Terrace, Adelaide

The Australian leg of the world’s foremost experimental and electronic music festival announces its inaugural Discourse Program.

Among many Australian firsts, will be an artist talk by one of the most acclaimed electronic musicians of our time, Holly Herndon; and the idiosyncratic German composer of many aliases, Uwe Schmidt (Senor Coconut, Atom TM); plus a presentation on the Adelaide innovator behind Pink Floyd’s famous synthesizer in Dark Side of the Moon (and the sound of Dr. Who’s Daleks), Tristram Cary.

These talks and presentations will give context to the Festival's music events, as well as sound installations by ground-breaking artists. Unsound Adelaide's Discourse Program is FREE to attend.


Presentation: From Daleks to Noise - Tristram Cary The Electronic Music Pioneer

Tristram Cary was a UK-born electronic music who relocated to Adelaide in the ‘70’s. For the rest of his life he was associated with the city and is a huge part of its electronic music history. Famous first as film and TV composer, he was associated with Dr Who and the early days of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Hammer and Ealing Studios. Renowned for his ground-breaking work with technology (including the synthesizer played by Pink Floyd on Dark Side of the Moon), Cary was an innovator years ahead of his time and seriously under-valued. He also had a serious impact on the formative years of experimental electronic music here in Adelaide. Christian Haines and Gabriella Smart give insight to the unique achievements of this highly original composer and demonstrate his revolutionary technology live.

Discussion: Permutations of Performance 

Robin Fox is not only one of Australia’s premiere A/V artists, he is also one of the key figures behind Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio. He joins artists Kara-Lis Coverdale, Nate Young of Wolf Eyes and Errorsmith to discuss what it means to play electronic and experimental music live, from synth shows to laptop performances. Questions covered include whether performance now have more importance than recorded works? Does an improvised DJ set have the same status a live show? How is the sonic side of an event affected by the visual, how has this changed throughout the years, and what might the future bring?

Artist talk: Uwe Schmidt
Uwe Schmidt aka Atom™ aka Señor Coconut is one of the most idiosyncratic artists in electronic music, with hundreds of releases put out via a dizzying number of aliases. German-born but now based in Chile, influences on his work range from Kraftwerk to Latin music via techno, while live performances include A/V shows featuring a computerised version of his face to the 9-piece Senor Coconut band he now brings to Adelaide. Unsound Artistic Director Mat Schulz sits with Uwe to chat about his early influences, the effect of geographical dislocation on his art, how he makes music and much more.

Discussion: Communities

In these turbulent times, what function can music play in relation to politics, protest and activism? In particular, what are the different types of communities that exist around electronic and experimental music scenes. This discussion involves Berlin-based U.S. artist Colin Self - in Adelaide to perform with Holly Herndon, Guiseppe Faraone from the Adelaide-based queer collective ClubSync and Polish Unsound director Gosia Płysa.


Presentation: Modular Mortgage or How to Get into Modular Synthesis Without Going Broke

Dave Burraston is an Australian experimental musician, who has worked with a diverse range of artists from Chris Watson to Aphex Twin to Oren Ambarchi. A self-confessed gearhead, among his many accomplishments is the publication of SYROBONKERS!, the most technical interview ever given by Aphex Twin. Today he discusses how to get into modular synthesis - with a particular emphasis on not going broke!

Discussion: On the Road 

With less income from physical sales, music has become a more precarious and untenable vocation unless you are young, have no attachments and few expenses. Is this a recipe for a bad situation and bad art? How can one survive and create when constantly on the road performing? This discussion will extend to also look at the difficulties of dealing with artist visas in a world where more walls are rising up, what produces a meaningful exchange when we visit other places, as well as the benefits and negative sides of artists gathering in creative expat enclaves such as Berlin. Participants include Rubén Patiño of N.M.O, Thomas Köner of Porter Ricks and Jonas Rönnberg aka Varg. Moderated by David Sefton.

Artist talk: Holly Herndon
Holly Herndon is one of the most acclaimed electronic musicians of her generation, exploring our complicated relationships with technology through cutting edge sound design. On the occasion of her first-ever show in Australia, she talks with Unsound’s Gosia Plysa about technology in life and music, traversing subjects such as making emotional music via a laptop, our complex relationship to technology, how and why politics infuses her music - and much more.

Presentation: Ideologies On The Block Chain

Mat Dryhurst discusses how decentralised tech could learn a great deal from utopian musical crews of different eras, such as AACM, Discord and Underground Resistance, and speculates on what might happen if different crews had the tech available to fully manifest these visions (implying that it may soon exist).

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 Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and Unsound Adelaide


While the views presented by speakers within The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia, or The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: Strengthening our Democracy - Valuing our Diversity - Building our Future. The Hawke Centre reserves the right to change their program at any time without notice.