For those who find solace in drone sounds, next Wednesday should be something else: The multidisciplinary artist Laurie Anderson has organized a free drone performance at the venerable Cathedral of St. John the Divine, with the sounds culled from guitars owned by her late husband, the musician Lou Reed. (Stewart Hurwood, Reed's former guitar technician, is the curator of the show, which has already made it to other cities—see video below.)
The instruments will not be played in a traditional sense, rather Reed's guitars will be laid against a stack of amplifiers. The idea is that the feedback therein will forge a symphony of improvised drone sounds, undulating and heavy all the same. During the performance, people can move throughout the mammoth Cathedral, and the drone effects should be startlingly different depending on where you're situated.
Reed incorporated drones into his work, particularly with his band The Velvet Underground, after being heavily influenced by the avant-garde composer La Monte Young (Young's light and sound installation Dream House, in Lower Manhattan, is worth a visit if you haven't been). Reed, who passed away in 2013, is both a beloved and contentious figure in music. He's been the subject of several biographies in recent years, including one that alleges that he abused women.
The drone show will take place from 6:30 - 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13th. It's tied to the recent opening of the exhibit The Value of Sanctuary: Building a House Without Walls, which explores the concept of sanctuary across various art forms. It's on view through June 30th, 2019.
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is located at 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, at 112th Street