REVIEW: Embrace Presents Zedd and Koan Sound at Sound Academy 22-03-13 by Rachael D’Amore


With great success comes great change. That’s the motto for the electronic dance music industry, right? Well, it certainly is for Zedd. It’s been six months since the release of his mega-hit EP Clarity and the twenty-three-year-old Russian-born producer has gone nowhere but up.  I was lucky to catch his set back in November when Embrace brought him to The Hoxton along with Kill Paris and Alex Metric. Although still quite popular then, the shift in both fan base and set choices was hard to ignore.

Arriving later than originally anticipated, I had to face the hassle that was a sold out show at Sound Academy. The sight of a line wrapping around the perimeter of the venue at 11:30pm signaled oncoming chaos. To make matters worse, the sounds of opener Koan Sound could already be heard pulsating through the walls as I waited. After a quick glimpse at the obnoxious coat check area that resembled a cattle herding of rave-kids (or newbie Zedd fans) I ditched my coat in sheer desperation.

The dubstep duo of Will Weeks and Jim Bastow, otherwise known as Koan Sound, were in the thick of some really funky sounds when I finally got inside. Known for their glitch-hop style and jazz fusion, the British two definitely mirrored the same feel Kill Paris delivered as an opener for Zedd in November.  I was unable to ID the beauty of a track I walked in to, but a quick transition into Split the Atom by Noisia had my feet automatically knowing what to do next. However, the crowd seemed to be a little unsure. The sound of their song 80’s Fitness off their newest EP from Skrillex’s OWSLA called “The Adventures of Mr. Fox” had a tight and punchy bassline that got heads nodding, but the momentum wasn’t quite there yet. Although enthusiastic, these club-goers were there to hear their favourite show anthems, fight their way to the front of the crowd and raise their hands high. Koan Sound’s style was simply their tasty little warm up. Before handing it over to their fellow OWSLA artist, we heard the synthy electronic groove of Sly Fox. This was definitely my favourite of their set; a future-funk masterpiece with a catchy melody – how can you go wrong?

At 1am the anticipation was over and Zedd took the stage. Since becoming an EDM household name with the success of “Clarity”, the ear-piercing shrieks of excitement were no surprise. The crowd rushed the stage and we were quickly teased with the haunting vocals of Foxes, just as I heard a handful of nearby diehards start chanting “clarity.” The energy was undeniably thrilling and the crowd began to make waves in the motion of an oncoming mosh-pit. He snapped the crowd into gear with the festival favorite Epic by Sandro Silva and Quintino as the dizzying light display had its first chance to show us what it had in store. After just recently paying his dues at Ultra Musical Festival in Miami last week, I was looking forward to see what he could bring to Toronto following a set like that. His own track Shotgun soon came on and I was reminded of the love I found in his talent back in November at The Hoxton. He took to the microphone just seconds before the beat drop in KDrew’s remix of his poplar track Spectrum and asked the crowd to do a “sit-down.” The title speaks for itself and as gimmicky as it sounds now, at the time it’s hard to not participate while surrounded by thousands of others following suit? Electronic dance music peer pressure at its finest!

Eventually the ebb and flow of the crowd became too much to cope with and I migrated to the back of the venue where the real dancing was going on. With space to move (and breathe) the sounds of Power Glove by Knife Party were greeted happily by some two-step dancing. Even though Zedd looked like a wacky waving silhouette from afar, the sense of fun he was having with the crowd was obvious. A really witty mash-up of Niggas in Paris by Kayne West and Jay Z, Internet Friends by Knife Party and the infamous Harlem Shake by Baauer had the place throbbing with each beat. We even got a glimpse of Zedd’s notorious sense of humor with a projection on the main stage of the “Fat Kid Harlem Shake” viral video while the song played. After a few more tracks, including an awesome surprise of Bbbs by Clockwork, he roped his set to a close with Matthew Koma’s vocals in Spectrum once again. The crowd responded with a big sing-along finale and roars for more.

Overall the event was definitely a success, and I could sit here and lament about how I wanted a different venue or a different type of crowd or for him to have played a different kind of set, but I took the effect of stardom as it was and genuinely had a good time. Zedd said it best himself that night:

 “Last time I was in Toronto there were about seven or eight hundred people, this time there’s about four times more. So I want to have this go four times harder.”

And he certainly did.

Other Songs Played:

Shave it Up – Zedd
Fall Into The Sky – Zedd
Breaking a Sweat – Skrillex and The Doors (Zedd Remix)
Save the World – Swedish House Mafia
Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia
Silouettes – Avicii (Syn Cole Creamfields Mix)
Breaking Your Fall – Danny Avila (Lucky Date Remix)
X Rated – Excision & Messinian (Space Laces Remix)




Koan Sound



Rachael D’Amore EDM TOR


About Author

Adele Desloges

Adele is the owner of Tranceported. She manages and maintains the social media and the photo and video teams, and has been shooting our event photos since 2011. She has been a fan of Trance music since the mid-90s and started this website (formerly called EDM TOR) in 2012.

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