This past mid-september weekend, I traveled to Hudson, NY to experience the Soundscape Basilica. Soundscape is a cultural event that mediates sonic, performance and visual arts over the course of a weekend to establish an desirable atmosphere and state of experience in those who partake in the event. Soundscape is/was a three day event that ran from the 15th of September to the 17th of the same month – of which I only attended on the 16th. Individuals throughout the area rushed to Hudson to experience the local vision of performance and activity based foundation built upon the infrastructural and economic legacy of the city; which gave way to a community functioning as a system of interest in the amenity economy of the Hudson valley
Getting to Hudson is possible through the use of ‘public’ transportation. The Basilica itself is located a short walk away from the Amtrak train station located in Hudson, which can be taken from Penn Station in NYC. Soundscape Basilica offered the opportunity to camp in sites with limited services and transportation to and from the event, which many decided to do for the weekend.
The easiest, and certainly most convenient form of transportation was through automobile – I thought it would be wise to park farther away from the venue, but this was not explicitly necessary, for there appeared to be more than enough parking spaces for those who came to the event by car that day. After a short stroll through heading west and then south along the town of Hudson, the Basilica was visible.
WHAT ABOUT IT?
The site of this function is the Hudson Basilica – a remnant structure of supply chains now past made out of brick walls, terracota/clay ceiling tiles. The structure originally housed a railway wheel works and forge in the late 19th century, a glue factory until the late 20th century, to now – where it houses curated experiences centered around the arts.
The event itself is explicitly bound to the local economy and the community. The founders and individuals in charge of the event take the efforts to curate a list of those who are seen to fall within the atmospheric and experiential vision desired to imprint to those present. During the day of performance – a small trailer resembling the form of a tiny diner hatched onto the back of a pick-up truck- housing modified and curated clothing and robes. There was a small bar/beer garden available – offering beer, wine and sake for a relatively d\adequate market price considering the cost of the ticket – with picnic tables arranged in two parallel lines outside and beside the beer station and the entrance to the small chamber of the Basilica. A few yards across the beer garden a strong and captivating grilling scent hovered around the other outdoor section- with chicken among some of the things being grilled and prepared in the kitchen/food cabin stand. It was wonderful to have one’s thirst quenched and hunger fulfilled without having to make an effort to leave and return to the venue. Albeit it came at a price – in my hunger and exalted state after the jumping, dancing, and yelling after the experience of seeing John Maus – I was induced into paying ten dollars for a bowl of tasty stew. Which was delicious.
The main chamber and the counter-chamber were the sites of performance. The function began at around 1730; yet I arrived slightly after 1800 to experience the performance of Yellow Eyes. Following that, in the main chamber there was Yvette performing after them. After their nice set, Amy Rose Spiegel orated some thoughts – which were followed by the smooth function that was Priests. Returning to the counter-chamber, Protomartyr performed a great set of which I partially saw – for I moved to the main chamber early to get close to the stage and the speakers for the performance of John Maus and his band– which was riveting and a delirious experience. After this I felt slightly exhausted and went outside for air and a snack(the stew). I was able to see and hear most of the performances, which is a great quality of the space – whether one decides to be directly present in the performance or to watch from the outside, one does not miss the experience.
I am keen to return and experience this again in the years to come.