2020 in Music
Season 10: Year In Review
A message from Melissa Auf der Maur, Basilica Hudson Co-Founder and Director:
Upon first feasting my eyes on the Basilica building, “TEMPLE OF SOUND” is what was clearly communicated to me. From our annual 24-HOUR DRONE, Basilica SoundScape and Freak Flag Day, to smaller but no less significant sound-based happenings at Basilica in the last decade, we as a collective, can confirm this love at first sight hunch to be true.
In 2020, she for the most part sat silent for the first time in a decade. Performance and gathering spaces worldwide are continuing to experience so much challenge to keep the flame lit. We mourn for the underground music venues we have already lost, and for our collective loss of those magic moments of sharing, gathering and discovering.
Basilica finds itself full of the deepest joy and gratitude for the outpouring of generosity and support received from you during this time. Thank you for staying tuned in, exploring the tapestry of our experimental sounds and friends on our DRONE AT HOME archive page, deep diving into all things MOOR MOTHER and listening to our Hudson neighbor Elvis Perkins’ latest album Creation Myths. Thank you for believing in this mission to offer a platform for people to express themselves and illuminate our lives.
By the grace of goodness we are keeping it going and in deep planning for our 2021 season. Be it outside or online, we will continue on behalf of all those who cannot. Most importantly we are keeping strong for the VOICES of emerging, independent, underground, innovative & lost and found that Basilica was founded for. The world needs these voices more than ever before to help each other understand, heal, listen and bridge the great divides that can no longer hide.
– Melissa Auf der Maur, Basilica Hudson Co-Founder and Director
24-HOUR DRONE AT HOME
For the last six years, 24-HOUR DRONE has kicked the Basilica Hudson season into bloom, and been a sacred wake-up call for our building in her winter hibernation. However, due to COVID-19, we had to make the difficult decision to cancel the in-person event. For our spirits and our creative community, we remained committed to activating those 24 hours of sound in a new way with Basilica’s long-standing partners Le Guess Who? to present the first online 24-HOUR DRONE AT HOME.
From home, DRONERS could browse our virtual gallery of sound, which featured embedded streams presented by partners, DRONE alumni and artists scheduled to perform at the in-person event. From the 400-person sonic gathering of the World Wide Tuning Meditation (facilitated by Claire Chase of the Pauline Oliveros Trust, Raquel Acevedo Klein, and IONE) to the haunting echoes of Helen Money’s cello, and Raven Chacon’s powerful set of recorded DRONES as they hovered above Oceti Sakowin (presented by Live from Quarantine), DRONE reached across the airwaves to engulf us in a kaleidoscope of sound. DRONE partner Sarah Van Buren also performed Gesture of Friendship: A Duet with the Building from within Basilica Hudson itself. This special one-hour live DRONE performance of theremin + Basilica building sounds is combined with slowed-down excerpts from Basilica’s first DRONE in 2015.
This online approach allowed artists to collaborate from opposite sides of the earth, with musicians from Sweden and Beirut performing in Lumen Project’s livestream, duo La Era del Ruido improvising in real time between New York and Columbia, and NEVER TEMPLE sharing sounds between Toronto and Amsterdam.
About 1,770 people tuned into the Basilica DRONE site over the course of the weekend from over 15 different countries, plus thousands of additional listeners from our partners’ individual stream sites, making 2020 our biggest DRONE yet. In the early waves of the pandemic and isolation, 24-HOUR DRONE AT HOME brought healing and solace across oceans and screens, connecting us through the power of global sound.
See the full 2020 lineup here.
ELVIS PERKINS LIVESTREAM
In what was the only full concert to take place within Basilica in all of 2020, Hudson based musician and longtime Basilica friend Elvis Perkins graced our factory halls with his live-streamed Creation Myths album debut.
Perkins created an altar to music on the steps of the North Hall risers to give us a solo ritual in poetry and song. His ethereal performance not only filled us with gratitude, but also generously supported Basilica Hudson’s Kickstarter campaign to aid our growth into 2021.
MOOR MOTHER IN CONVERSATION
As part of our Basilica Conversation Series, artist, musician and Basilica SoundScape 2017 performer Camae Ayewa of Moor Mother sat down with Basilica Hudson Co-Founder and Director Melissa Auf der Maur to discuss intersectionality and art, Ayewa’s musical journey, Black Quantum Futurism, environmental racism and life during the pandemic.
Beyond the visceral and shapeshifting sounds and genres she occupies on stage, she is a deeply engaged citizen and community organizer in her home of Philadelphia. Her work helps us find ways for art and action to intersect with sociological systems during this pivotal moment in history.
“It’s not isolating these conversations, you know, because people want to talk about the environment, but they don’t want to talk about racism; they want to talk about music but they don’t want to talk about racism. And it’s like, you have to talk about these things, and if they don’t want to, we got to keep throwing it in their face. Because they want these conversations so isolated, and it’s not.” – Camae Ayewa
Ayewa concluded the talk with a grounding and fervent poetry reading that fulfilled a longing for storytelling and spoken word within Basilica’s spirit. Watch the full talk here.
WE MISSED YOU, SOUNDSCAPE
(Pre-pandemic photo from 2018) For one weekend every September, our industrial church on the Hudson River would ring in sonic bliss from the magic of Basilica SoundScape. From grindcore to an orchestral soundbath, and from floating sculpture to raw power poets, Basilica SoundScape has remained a ramshackle example of our dreams of exchange and expression. To all those who have joined us throughout the years, thank you for stepping off the beaten path to be with us. We hope to gather in person and in celebration again soon.
“SoundScape, for me, feels honest, useful, communal, and real. It’s more a show than a festival. It’s more a family gathering than a show…Basilica Soundscape is, without a doubt, also the most fulfilling curatorial project of my life.” – Brandon Stosuy, Basilica SoundScape Co-Curator and Co-Founder of The Creative Independent
Partners/supporters: Le Guess Who?, Netherlands // Lumen Project, Sweden // WGXC/Wave Farm, Hudson // Canada Resonance Agency, Montreal // Islington Mill Public Access TV, UK // Music Box Villiage, New Orleans // Automatic Aleatoric, Chicago // Music on the Rebound and Pauline Oliveros Trust, NYC // Notice Recordings, Kingston/New Orleans // Live From Quarantine, Hudson // Corrector Records, Minneapolis // Dustbunny, Philadelphia // The Lot Radio, NYC // Sayler/Morris, NY // Elvis Perkins // Red Bull // The Creative Independent
Photos: Basilica by Allison Young, Gesture of Friendship by Allison Young, Elvis Perkins by Wyndham Garnett, BSS17 Moor Mother by Richard Lovrich for The Alt, BSS18 by Amanda Koellner