Text and Interview: Alec Coiro
Photos Courtesy of Brian Chase and Matt Charland
Basilica Hudson is the amazing post-urban warehouse space set against the rural backdrop of Hudson New York, which is easily accessible via a breathtaking two-hour train ride up the mighty river for which the town is named. There couldn’t be a more fitting venue for the full-day drone event taking place Saturday, April 23rd, starting at 3pm. Basilica Hudson is a space perfect for experiment and exploration, which is precisely what 24-Hour Drone will offer. Artists as various as Oneida, Meshell Ndegeocello, Kevin Doria, and Innoc Gnawa (to name just a few) will come together for a “relay marathon” of drone. We were lucky enough to get in the inside scoop on the program from one its participants, Brian Chase, who will perform as Drum & Drones.
How would you define drone?
Drone is a basically a steady continuous tone that doesn’t change. In this sense of being ‘uninterrupted,’ it implies a type of infinity in that there is not a beginning and not an end. In this way, the listener can better investigate the sound being heard, or, further yet, investigate the process of listening that is occurring within his/herself.
An ironic thing with drone is that it has an unlimited number ways that it can be expressed. As one will hear at 24-Hour Drone, each performer will have his/her own take on the sound of drone. Within this singular form there is an endless range for individual style.
In talking about drone, La Monte Young, one of the key originators of the modern drone aesthetic, says, “Once [a] Drone-State-of-Mind has been established, the mind should be able to go on very special explorations and in new directions, because it will always have a fixed reference standard to come back to.”
There are artists on the program who I wouldn’t normally associate with the genre. Would you say this is more of a gathering of drone musicians or a chance for various musicians to explore drone?
This will be a gathering of musicians who have a profound respect for the possibilities of drone and have experience with communicating it to an artist. It will definitely be a chance for the musicians to explore drone in this very special setting: the beautiful reverberant rooms of Basilica Hudson, the energy of the back-to-back performances lasting 24 hours, and the communal experience with the audience.
Can you tell us a little about what you plan to perform at the event?
For my set, I will perform material from my solo project Drums and Drones. My set comes at a peak moment of the night — following Brooklyn rock legends Oneida — so I’ll have to bring the sonic power. Much of Drums and Drones is inspired by the amazing Dream House sound and light installation created by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. It deals with the physiological properties of sound: the way that a precisely tuned ordering of tones can encourage deeper listening. The tuning system used is called Just Intonation and is based on a naturally occurring sonic phenomenon known as overtones.
I see that endurance enhancing snacks are recommended. Is it literally 24-hours of straight drone?
Endurance enhancing snacks are recommended but there is also the freedom to chill and relax; the audience is invited to take advantage of the opportunity for prolonged listening, as well as to casually come and go. There is no competition:) I believe it is 24-hours of straight drone, with the performers effectively functioning as runners in a relay marathon.
Basilica Hudson is a uniquely awesome space. Did 24-Hour Drone pick the venue or did the venue pick it?
I believe the visionary team at Basilica Hudson is responsible for the 24-Hour Drone. They are the organizers and it is in their house. It is really great and courageous of them to offer this large scale event bringing together leading artists and community to exist symbiotically.