As the harvest moon settled over the small town of Hudson, a sharp screech pierced the air. Ominous growling and a throbbing beat emanated from a repurposed foundry along the railroad tracks. Wolves in the Throne Room, a black metal band known for its dark ambiance and heavy use of vintage amps, had taken the stage at the fifth annual Basilica SoundScape. Loud and experimental, Wolves set the tone for the weekend with killer performances from Xylouris White, Youth Code, Angel Olsen, Bell Witch and Explosions in the Sky.
As in previous years, the edgy three-day festival combined the raw and the refined with a bold lineup of eccentric talent, intermingling music, art installation and poetry to test the boundaries of perception and reality. Raspy yet seductive, Angel Olsen was nothing short of otherworldly, and Bell Witch was exquisitely haunting. Amber Tamblyn read from her 2014 collection of poetry on the tragic ends of child star actresses, while third gender poet and musician Genesis Breyer P-Orridge challenged established ways of thinking about words, human relationships and sound. Headliner Explosions in the Sky, their expansive sound seemingly cramped within the confines of the building, boomed more intense than ever.
Don’t be fooled by the heavenly blue of the Catskills Mountains in the background. Basilica SoundScape is not for the faint at heart. But it’s more than a festival. It’s an event that welcomes the weekend’s talent and attendees to the town of Hudson. “We are striving to create an immersive pilgrimage to the Hudson Valley, where rural, industrial and urban collide,” says Melissa Auf der Maur, a former member of Hole and Smashing Pumpkins and now co-founder of Hudson Basilica with her husband, indie filmmaker Tony Stone.
And with its thick-paned windows, exposed brick, and looming steel beams, Hudson Basilica is a symbol of the town’s industrial chic identity. The small property, set amid working factory life and abandoned derelict, was adorned for the weekend with lace-patterned silos and oil drums from metal sculptress Cal Lane. Inside, the gutted factory was draped and and shrouded by set designer Lisa Laratta, and its former kiln housed a video installation in memory of avant-garde filmmaker Tony Conrad. The result was a bright clash of grit and elegance.
Article: Heather McAdams
Photos courtesy of: Samantha Marble for The Creative Independent