24-HOUR DRONE 2023: Recap & Highlights
DRONE happened later in the year than usual – ongoing renovations and general eco-friendly improvements of Basilica’s 19th-century foundry meant that the DRONE took place in May instead of the usual April. Longtime DRONErs may have noticed that the sun angled differently or that the dark of night was more brief. Perhaps it was due in fact to having returned to an in-person gathering, maybe it was the Spring’s full bloom, but this DRONE felt sunnier, warmer, lighter, more shiny and optimistic – from the moment Gamelan Dharma Swara clanged their first gong, it was clear that something wonderful was unfolding.
But that isn’t to say that there wasn’t darkness – the brightness of the day caused the night to glower and there were moments during the evening’s more intense nighttime performances when all the collective grief and outrage we’ve shared over the last four years bubbled up unbidden. The goodness of this gathering couldn’t help but point out all the other good times and good people we’ve lost.
There was also an interesting change in formatting this year – the lineup featured four three-hour-long “endurance sets” which gave the DRONE a new topography. Hour-long sets began to feel almost brief, time warped, and we all enjoyed stretching all the way out during the longer performances.
And though every DRONE is unique, this one felt particularly resonant. A sense of return, a sense of relief, a gladness to be back on the concrete floor all together.
The Fader published two in-depth pieces about this year’s DRONE, featuring interviews, photography, and highlights with the artists, staff, and curators:
And due to a truly heroic 24-hour documentation effort by photographer Peter Galgani, we are blessed with really nice images of every single set. In order:
Gamelan Dharma Swara began the DRONE with a beautiful clanging: traditional Balinese dance, gongs, and chimes that ricocheted through the space
gushes (fka WSABI) ceremonially adorned the DRONE with beetroot blood and flying flower petals.
Drone reflects the pacing of the earth & cosmos~ the monumental shifting of tectonic plates, tree growth, fossil records, rain & tidal oscillation carving mountains & coastlines, plant & animal evolution, glacial melt & climate change, the formation of moons, the emblazoned long delay harbinger of star death, rhizomatic contrapuntal weaving, polyrhythms across simultaneous orbital dances of celestial bodies from which emerge seasons…
Drone’s format, space, season, lunar phase & people inspired gushes’ drone score to sound & embody our astronomical & bio-mythological take on the sun, moon & earth triangulation, as represented by 3 bodies playing 3 drums…
If we move, breathe, play, & listen more like a landscape, melting the factory clock, our hearts could expand in spiritual compassion to the greater story around us, which is animated by nuance and constant transformation. This is what I’m INTO.gushes
Michael Foster & Luke Stewart’s duo daringly expanded what seems possible with saxophones and upright bass, coaxing unearthly sounds out of their instruments
Veena & Devesh Chandra – two masters of Indian Classical music – gorgeously realized one of the oldest and most ornate musicological forms of DRONE.
Then, Sarah Hennies – a composer / percussionist who for this performance manipulated a small orchestra of hanging gongs – and Tristan Kasten-Krause – an upright bassist with an uncanny ability to surreally sustain tones with a nominally acoustic instrument – performed in a new format, a study in gesture.
Following their set, we were blessed by an hour in the presence of eucademix aka Yuka C. Honda, a “decomposer” whose vivid collection of sounds perfectly brought to mind the image of light dancing and reflecting on moving water.
The first marathon set of DRONE surrounded a glorious sunset which many DRONErs stood to watch through our south windows. The first of two first-time-ever quartets performing and this one color-coordinated – at the orange table, Laraaji + Arji OceAnanda. At the blue table, Photay + Celia Hollander. The last rays of the day stretched across the concrete as their samples, zithers, singing voices, and water being poured in front of a microphone unfolded.
Marathon events like 24-hour drone are a gateway into listening deeply and differently. It’s the combination of listening with others in community and long durational sound that brings about a new sensation. A heightened presence and awareness that has left me beaming!Photay
Then, the first true nighttime set, when darkness becomes palpable and the boundaries of sound grow larger. Liturgy (performing a rare solo set) conjured a pummeling & transcendental wall of guitar while joined by the ecstatic movements of special guest Davon.
Laura Ortman took hold of the DRONE next for a cathartic violin, electronics, & megaphone set that was powerful, loud, and literally dazzling as a spotlight reflected off her sequins.
Wolf Eyes – long-standing weirdo luminaries of the noise music world – played a more subdued, syrupy, haunting set that bended time around their tables full of electronics.
Raven Chacon played the second endurance set of DRONE, harnessing a massive midnight energy that ranged from the most delicate of homebrew electronic gestures to the loudest, most embodied wall of noise of the entire event – a deeply cathartic crecsendo that, amazingly, many people slept through.
As musicians, our medium is time. Sometimes it is the only thing we are truly working with. Time, realized as music, shows us where we are in the long window of the universe. But to play or hear only long tones, or endless loops, reminds you that you have always existed.Raven Chacon
In the deepest depths of the night Kelman Duran infiltrated the dreams of the DRONErs in a set filled with the haunts, rhythms, and spirits of a million forgotten parties – the melted sounds of a club down the block.
From the depths of dark straight through to the full brilliance of morning, C. Lavender unfurled a sunrise incantation during the third endurance set of DRONE. Rolled gongs and incantations, a brilliant dawn chorus.
With so much of our time dictated moment by moment in our society, immersing ourselves into live sustained music creates a portal to transcend time. In a sonic liminal space we’re able to better access moments of emotional freedom and reflection. As a sound healing practitioner and experimental musician, I’ve explored expansive sonic realms for many years and have experienced first-hand with varied audiences how durational listening can bring about healing, inspiration, and a renewed sense of connectedness to our inner and outer worlds. From a performer’s perspective, I love the sensation of giving musical ideas room to unfold in an unhurried manner; it feels liberating to improvise in the moment not only on where I want to take the music, but where it wants to take me and the audience as well. Getting into that kind of a creative flow is less viable in many typical concert settings.C. Lavender
As dawn gave way, the Evans Saxl Seretan Thayer Quartet quite literally said good morning to everyone in a delightful hourlong set that included violin, many electronics, double congas, shaking bamboo leaves and, of all things, a bubble machine, seen here in the photo.
The final endurance set of the featured one of the most delicate gestures of the entire 24 hours – gently amplified rocks clicked together in the palm of the hand (seen in the photo!). Fujiiiiiiiiiiita’s set brought to mind the eerie and serene calm of standing alone in a vast forest and guided our collective attention toward the delicate, hand-pumped bellows of his pipe organ.
It was full of love, wonder, and an ephemeral, magical quality that I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced before. Fujiiiiiiita, himself, was the embodiment of grace and his sounds were sublime. But, I’ll also attribute it to the cumulative effect of continuous mass listening. There was a subtle attention to sound in the space, a subtle reverence for it. I noticed that people spoke very little and when they did, they whispered quietly. I think that might have been what united the diverse crowd that had become a shared resonance body—a love for listening, a love for the possibilities in the manipulation of sound outside the boundaries of the purely functional. I left feeling lighter, quieter, and more orderly inside—like my auditory and aural channels had been cleansed.Schuyler Brown, the Art of Emergence
The final hour of the DRONE focused on collectively heard music’s power to heal. With a table full of singing bowls, Nea Mckinney drew our focus with crystalline ringing and the gentlest of tabletop chimes.
Anneice Cousin – in a powerful, vocal-forward, beat-heavy set – invited catharsis with her deeply felt performance.
And in a grand, final act, Lisa B. Kelley led the collected DRONErs in a collective performance of Pauline Oliveros’ “the Heart Chant,” an almost indescribable communal happening that left the room stunned.
The continual collective experience through dreamtime allows us to tap into the deepest levels of human connection consciously and subconsciously.Lisa B. Kelley
When the humming comes to a natural halt, I hear the music that hides in silence as much as I did in the sound that rang for nearly 24 hours before.Vanessa Ague, the Wire
A long and wild cycle of the sun. Thank you for joining us. 24-HOUR DRONE will return in April of 2024.
THANK YOU TO OUR STAFF & VOLUNTEERS
Melissa Auf der Maur
Basilica Hudson Director + Co-Founder
Basilica Hudson Co-Founder + Construction Manager
DRONE Logistics Team
Sarah Van Buren, 24-HOUR DRONE Co-Curator + Artist Liaison / Staffing Manager
Ben Seretan, Basilica Program + Marketing Manager
Liz Shaw, Interim Operations Manager
Jeanne Stark, Basilica Industries Rental Coordinator
DRONE Production Team
Roman Horst, Facilities and Setup
Daniel Stout, Technical Director + Stage Manager
Emily Flores, Stage Manager
Matthew Cullen, Audio Engineer: DRONE stage + stage crew
Tyler Wood, Audio Engineer: WGXC livestream + stage crew
John Rosenthal, Event setup + stage crew
Chad Dziewior, Video setup, tech + design
Walter Sudol, Video setup + tech
Lukas Wheeler, Production Volunteer
Nick Dixon-Santiago, Production Volunteer
Security – Ancil Dorsey (Head of Security), Makisha Brown, Tom Mignone, Antonio Williams, & Victoria Lowe
Box Office – Michael Rivenburg, Gabriel Korngold, Nkoula Badila, & Sonie Ruscoe
Hospitality – Jamie Jackson & Jeanne Stark
Artist Check-In – Annie Reynolds, Jessica Chappe, & Del Montgomery
Destiny Pierce (Bar Manager), JP Basileo, Susan Humphries, & Kendra McKinley
Jody Fish, Annie White
Setup, Parking + Clean Up
Abe Etkin, Mounanou Badila, Liam Stark, & Cache Holt
Cat Tyc, Marcel Reid-Jaques, & Sam Panken
Hudson Valley Safer Spaces Volunteer Monitors
Widow, Kevin Muth, Mike Amari, Rebecca Borrer, David Silberberg, & Dina Percia
Local 111 – Josephine Proul (Chef), Paul DiMaria, Jenna Limoges, Michael Riozzi, Kadrian Laporte,
Woodland Pantry – Tanya Himeji-Romero (Chef), Jamie Gillespie, Clare Delaney, Toko Harada, Rachel Sanzone
Coptic Light Coffee – Esther Shaw, JR Robinson
THANK YOU TO OUR PARTNERS AND SPONSORS
Thank you to our DRONE supporters, partners and collaborators. This event would not have been possible without your generosity and like-minded spirit:
Le Guess Who?
The Wick Hotel
Second Ward Foundation
New York State Council on the Arts