3rd Annual Drone-Fest Lands at Basilica Hudson

Iva Bittova

(HUDSON, N.Y.) – 24-Hour Drone: Experiments in Sound and Music, the annual immersive music and art festival celebrating the beauty and community of the drone, returns to Basilica Hudson on Saturday, April 29, through Sunday, April 30, from noon to noon. This year’s festival includes performances by guitarist Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth; experimental violinist/vocalist Iva Bittova; Phil Kline, composer, guitarist, and fixture of New York’s downtown scene; singer and harmonium player Shilpa Ray; and dozens of other international artists.

“Drone” is more than just a single, monotonous tone. The drone is at the heart of music and sound as varied as Gregorian chant; primitive blues; Irish folk; proto rock ‘n’ roll; modal jazz; Indian raga as exemplified by Ravi Shankar and adopted by the Beatles for songs including “Tomorrow Never Knows”; classical Minimalism (Steve Reich, Philip Glass); the experiments of LaMonte Young that found expression in the music of the Velvet Underground; Brian Eno’s ambient music; David Bowie’s electronic experiments; the downtown rock of Glenn Branca that influenced Sonic Youth; and more.

Basilica Hudson explains, “Music has the power to bring people together where words and actions fail. Drones, or sustained tones shaped by voice or instrumentation, transcend time, genre and music itself.”

Musician, composer, visual artist, writer and producer Lee Ranaldo — a founding member of Sonic Youth, from their debut in 1981 thru their demise in 2011 (30 years) — will be performing a site-specific drone work for guitar.

Other artists include Jon and Jeremy Gibson performing a version of Jon’s seminal avant-garde 1970’s piece “Visitations.” The original recording on Chatham Square has recently been reissued on vinyl by Superior Viaduct, and pre-recorded material from the original recordings will be mixed with live playing by both Gibsons.

Lee Ranaldo (photo Sage Ranaldo)

The festival will include the premiere of a new interactive drone machine piece by Yonatan Gat, Brian Chase and Matt Ostrowski; Montrealers nag & a picturesque venus transit (joining BIG|BRAVE and JR & MS as part of Jessica Moss’s Quelque Show Montreal Block); Quintron’s Weather Warlock (Upstate edition), one in a series of custom-built weather-controlled analog synthesizers installed at Wave Farm in Acra; Hubble, the mesmerizing solo project of Ben Greenberg; Hudson area musician, inventor and all-around renaissance man Brian Dewan; Ezra Feinberg, formerly of Citay, with a solo set; and the Portland, Maine-based Jesus Cactus.

Ben Shemie (SUUNS) returns to DRONE with a solo piece; Roddy Bottum (Faith No More, Imperial Teen) delivers tonal meditative bliss via synthesizer and vocal choir; internationally renowned sitarist and composer Veena Chandra; IIVII, Josh Graham’s project, a trip into the great black beyond; dedicated improviser and electro-acoustic pioneer Bonnie Kane; audio / visual collaborators Victoria Keddie, Rose Kallal, Scott Kiernan and Katherine Bauer; local noise musician Logan R. Visscher; Vision Control (John Pugh), presenting Lewd Did I Live/Evil Did I Dwel, a sound/movement collaboration with dancer/choreographer Malinda Allen; David Garland & Ensemble with Arone Dyer and Iva Bittova will premiere a new work, Lux Temporalis; and the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Choir, whose music, offered for the benefit and ultimate enlightenment of all sentient beings, is created from improvisations on traditional mantras of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

Adam Shore and Brandon Stosuy of Tinnitus return to present New York City-based noise artist Ligature, and violinist and DRONE alum Jessica Moss returns as curator, presenting the second annual Quelque Show Montreal DRONE block, featuring power trio BIG | BRAVE, site-specific sound artists JR & MS, and more.


Phil Kline (photo Lovis Ostenrik)


The 24-Hour Drone also includes a visual arts component. Victoria Keddie + Unit 11 Residency project featuring Katherine Bauer, with Rose Kallal and Scott Kiernan, will be on site for a mini-residency the week leading up to, and through, 24-HOUR DRONE weekend.

For a month out of the year, Unit 11 ENG news van becomes a residency for artists who work in expanded cinema, video, sound, broadcast, or other areas of experimental transmission.  The residency is site specific, partnering with a geographical area or institution. Each residency culminates in a live performance from the van at host location that is recorded and broadcast on cable access in NYC via E.S.P. TV. For this unique residency, Unit 11 Director and artist Victoria Keddie will work with selected resident artist Katherine Bauer in making site-specific work from and using the van as instrument.

The culmination of this research and work will be performed during the weekend as part of 24-HOUR DRONE. Artists Rose Kallal and Scott Kiernan will join in with Keddie and Bauer in creating a live composition of sound and vision, emanating from the van, projecting back onto, and sounding out throughout the building. Unit 11 is the central machine that the collaboration operates from. The van will be parked in front of the building where artists will perform from as well as satellite from within the building with cable connection.

Meanwhile, NYC-based duo Trouble will spend a week creating a visual installation in Basilica’s rafters, including digital projections which will morph and change throughout the duration of the event. Trouble is devoted to creating extreme environments that have no exterior, public art both condoned and illegal, and other kinds of visual/sound art intended to be used for some purpose.  Trouble is Sam Hillmer and Laura Paris.

Zohar Lazar’s Zine and Political Poster project, UNFUNNY, will be exhibited on Basilica’s walls. Posters and zine for sale. All proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. Presented by Zohar Lazar and Jeff Bailey Gallery.

There will also be an endurance reading of the 1816 Testimonies of Mother Ann Lee presented by Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon; and live streaming of the entire event by Wave Farm / WGXC.


Basilica Hudson & Le Guess Who? present


in collaboration with Second Ward Foundation and Wave Farm / WGXC

Saturday, April 29 @ noon – Sunday, April 30 @ noon


Click here for the complete, detailed festival schedule.

Festival will be preceded by the HUDSON VALLEY CLIMATE MARCH, Saturday at noon, kicking off at the Town Square/7th Street Park to Basilica.

Post-festival Wind Down: WGXC Record + Media Fair Sun at 11am, Basilica Back Gallery


Shilpa Ray


The idea for 24-HOUR DRONE was sparked years ago during a late-night New Years Eve conversation in Hudson, New York between Basilica Hudson co-founders Melissa Auf der Maur and Tony Stone and their Dutch houseguest, Le Guess Who? music festival organizer Bob van Heur. On that cold winter night, they gazed at the 1880s industrial factory from their balcony, and it called to them: “24 hours of sound please!” The drone dream was the eventual owners’ first impression of and first intention with the building, where they begin their art and community programs in 2010. In 2014 the dream was realized, and 24-HOUR DRONE was born.

The first 24-HOUR DRONE was held in tandem with the Le Guess Who? festival in Utrecht, Netherlands in November of 2014, and featured William Basinski, Stephen O’Malley, Emptyset, Tim Hecker, Steve Hauschildt, Raime, Dirk Serries, Julianna Barwick, Carla Bozulich and John Eichenseer, and more.

24-HOUR DRONE arrived stateside the following April and opened Basilica Hudson’s 2015 season with Prurient, SUUNS, Jessica Moss, Bobby Previte, Patrick Higgins, Arone Dyer, Greg Fox, Lea Bertucci, Randy Gibson and more, plus a program of films curated by Second Ward Foundation. The entire event was streamed live on Wave Farm radio / WGXC.org.

This past year, Basilica once again opened its season with 24-HOUR DRONE in April, with an expanded program featuring Oneida, Innov Gnawa, Brian Chase, Noveller, Ceramic TL, Christopher Tignor, Long Distance Poison, Jack Walls and more, along with three DRONE BLOCKS by event partners Hospital Productions, Tinnitus Series, and Quelque Show (a homegrown Montreal musicians only block).  Second Ward Foundation doubled its film and video programming, Wave Farm / WGXC.org commissioned interstitial sound pieces and streamed the event live, additional interactive activities were offered throughout the weekend, and Columbia University’s Sound Arts MFA program presented a related exhibition in Basilica’s Back Gallery.



Basilica Hudson is a non-profit multidisciplinary arts center in Hudson, NY, supporting the creation, production and presentation of arts and culture while fostering sustainable community. Founded in 2010 by musician Melissa Auf der Maur and filmmaker Tony Stone, Basilica Hudson makes its home in a spectacular solar-powered reclaimed 1880s industrial factory on the waterfront of the historic City of Hudson. Weekend destination events comprise the core of Basilica Hudson’s music, performance, film, food and literary programming, alongside regular film screenings series, art exhibitions, and other community gatherings.



Le Guess Who?, Basilica’s 24-HOUR DRONE curatorial partner, has become the Netherlands’ go-to event for experimental, collaborative and otherwise out-of-the-box musical thinking. Now in its tenth year, Le Guess Who? 2016 occurred on 10-13 November in Utrecht, Netherlands.


24-HOUR DRONE will be broadcast in its entirety live on WGXC 90.7 FM and online at https://wavefarm.org/wgxc.




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