Red Bull Music Academy presents Drone Activity In Progress

For one night we will turn the spectacular Knockdown Center in Queens into a temple of thundering noise with some of today’s most daring sound artists. The night will see performances from sixteen solo artists and duos on three stages, where the sound bleed between stages is entirely intentional.

Performers at this noise, drone and experimental techno festival-within-a-festival include Stephen O’Malley of Sunn O))), who will be performing solo and with his duo project KTL alongside Peter Rehberg, owner of Editions Mego Records; Sonic Youth founding member Kim Gordon presenting her collaborative project with Bill Nace, Body/Head; influential noise artist and Hospital Productions founder Dominick Fernow, performing both with his conceptual noise project Prurient and under his doom-techno moniker Vatican Shadow; Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, the frontman and “dogma director” of transcendental black metal band Liturgy; Australian composer and multi-instrumentalist Oren Ambarchi; NYC-based guitarist and composer Alan Licht; analog techno noisemaker Pete Swanson; Sacred Bones recording artist Margaret Chardiet aka Pharmakon; Oneida and Man Forever drummer Kid Millions performing with Borbetomagus saxophonist Jim Sauter; virtuoso guitarist Mick Barr (Ocrillim, Krallice); Kris Lapke’s power violence/black metal solo project Alberich; composer Sarah Lipstate’s solo electric guitar project Noveller; Arto Lindsay collaborator and 2013 Academy participant grassmass from Brazil; and Mexican beat experimentalist Hiram Martinez.

Visuals come courtesy of the creative minds behind Nuit Blanche so expect a multi-sensory experience o sorts.

Bushwick staple Roberta’s will provide wood-fired pizza for purchase throughout the night. Shuttle busses will be provided all night from the Jefferson stop on the L subway line.

Photo Gallery

Stephen O’Malley

His SOMA pseudonym might be a partial play on Aldous Huxley’s infamous fictitious sorrow-obliteration drug. But Stephen O’Malley doesn’t deal in happiness. The Osiris of drone metal has not only been involved with several of the genre’s key bands, including Sunn O))), Burning Witch, Khanate and KTL, but has also played an important part in linking the doom-sphere with the art world. His long list of collaborators stretches from Boris, Merzbow, Jim O’Rourke, Keiji Haino and Oren Ambarchi to French theatre specialist Gisèle Vienne, American sculptor Banks Violette, Italian performance artist Nico Vascellari and Belgian filmmaker Alexis Destoop. After having been involved with the Southern Lord and Ajna Offensive labels, since 2011 O’Malley is the curating force behind Ideologic Organ, which also serves as a nom de plume for his art direction and design activities.

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KTL (Stephen O’Malley & Peter Rehberg)

Initially formed to score and perform in Gisèle Vienne’s theatre piece “Kindertotenlieder” in 2006, KTL is the musical collaboration between Peter Rehberg and Stephen O’Malley. Two major players in the realms of experimental music—Rehberg being the founder of Editions Mego and O’Malley as core member of Khanate and Sunn O)))—the duo’s dynamic is natural and complementary. Several albums and numerous live performances have followed in the wake of their debut project, aiming for a long, flexible, and free evolution of sound, based mostly on O’Malley’s prime guitarwork and Rehberg’s intricate knowledge of all things modular synth.

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Body/Head (Kim Gordon & Bill Nace)

Body/Head is the unpredictable guitar combo pairing Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and Boston’s favorite free-noise guitarist Bill Nace. Inspired by Syd Barrett–era Pink Floyd and filmmaker Catherine Breillat, the improv-based duo was conceived in 2012 when they embarked on a European tour, exposing their abrasive sound experimentation to a wide range of staggered spectators. Gordon is a founding member of the pioneering noise-rock band Sonic Youth, and has been involved in numerous collaborations with other artists and musicians, including Lydia Lunch, Vincent Gallo, and Yoko Ono. She has also been extensively involved with the art world, working as an artist, writer and curator, and has exhibited her installation work across the globe. Bill Nace is one of the premier avant-garde guitarists active today, having released multiple albums with the likes of Thurston Moore, Paul Flaherty, and Steve Baczkowski, as well as with Chris Corsano under the moniker Vampire Belt, and as part of the three-piece X.O.4.

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Prurient

The back catalogue of Prurient’s industrial soundscapes might be overwhelming, in both size and sound, but Dominick Fernow hasn’t developed his artistic identity through short cuts and compromises. After throwing himself in the deep end of the ’90s industrial cassette scene, Prurient has distinguished himself as a dedicated experimentalist, combining elements of EBM, drone, and metal into his liberated noise excursions. Running the gamut from screeching feedback to distorted abstractions, pathological mumbling to demented screams, Fernow’s oeuvre is as compelling as it is diverse. “Through The Window” is his recent recording for UK label Blackest Ever Black, and with his industrial abstract techno alias Vatican Shadow, and full-time involvement with dark synth band Cold Cave, that catalogue looks set to grow at an exponential rate.

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Hunter Hunt-Hendrix

With its very own take on the Scandinavian legacy of black metal, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix’s Brooklyn-based outfit Liturgy has been dubbed a frontrunner of the genre’s third wave, single-handedly attracting the young and the hip of the Big Apple. Alongside disturbingly beautiful songs on Liturgy’s independently released debut EP and album, plus a sophomore album via Thrill Jockey, Hunter penned a manifesto declaring his vision on how to channel the relentless energy of black metal in the best way. “Apocalyptic humanism” is what drives his understanding of the band’s self-described “transcendental black metal,” hinting at Hunter’s philosophical inclination, but also at his genuine desire to innovate. When he’s not busy challenging the temper of black metal purists with Liturgy, Hunter plays an equally gut-punching variation of post-rock with Survival, a band he forms with Greg Smith and Jeff Bobula.

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Oren Ambarchi

Oren Ambarchi’s works are hesitant and tense extended songforms located in the cracks between several schools: modern electronics and processing; laminal improvisation and minimalism; hushed, pensive songwriting; the deceptive simplicity and temporal suspensions of composers such as Morton Feldman and Alvin Lucier; and the physicality of rock music, slowed down and stripped back to its bare bones, abstracted and replaced with pure signal. Ambarchi has performed and recorded with a diverse array of artists such as Fennesz, Charlemagne Palestine, Thomas Brinkmann, Keiji Haino, John Zorn, Merzbow, Jim O’Rourke, Keith Rowe, and many more. Since 2004 Ambarchi has contributed to a large number of Sunn O))) releases and side-projects including the albums Black One and Monoliths & Dimensions. His solo work has been released on labels like Touch, Southern Lord, Editions Mego, Kranky, and Tzadik.

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Alan Licht

Since 1990, guitarist Alan Licht has spanned the worlds of indie rock, experimental music, and sound installation, appearing on close to 100 recordings and touring the world in the process. Led unto the path of minimalism by the sounds of Steve Reich, the film studies major wouldn’t look back, covering adventurous musical ground on his own as well as in collaboration with the likes of Jandek, Lovechild, Jim O’Rourke, and Loren Mazzacane Connors. Licht is also the editor of Will Oldham on Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and the author of Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Media. He is currently a member of the Lee Ranaldo Band and the groundbreaking “talk rock” band Title TK along with artist Cory Arcangel and curator Howie Chen. Licht’s seventh album of solo guitar, Four Years Older, is out on Editions Mego.

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Pete Swanson

Since the early 2000s, Pete Swanson has released more CDRs, tapes, and vinyl records than most countries release postage stamps. As a member of noise duo Yellow Swans, he amassed a worldwide following of fans swayed by the clamorous beats-and-screech combo and ability to carry the sound live just as much as on record. As a solo artist Swanson has continued to deliver, unsurprisingly able to explore far more ground tonally. Whether tangling with the kind of corrupted rock you’d most likely find on a Keiji Haino album (see “I Don’t Rock At All”) or the sandblasted Surgeon-indebted 4/4 crunch of “Man With Potential,” Swanson has proved he can leave an indelible mark on any genre he tips his hat to (and make it his own). Maybe it’s the density, the saturation, the signature tape hiss—whatever it is, you have the sense that a veteran’s at work. Swanson’s insatiable appetite for innovation is something we can all rely on.

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Mick Barr

Weehawken, New Jersey, may not be on everyone’s musical map just yet, but Mick Barr has been holding it down as guitarist and composer in his hometown for almost 20 years. Notable for his relentless speed and agility on guitar, and for his avant-garde compositions, Barr has released over 40 recordings to date. Be it as part of technical duos Orthrelm and Crom Tech, of progressive metal band Krallice, or under his Octis and Ocrilim monikers, Barr is hailed by many as one of the greatest living Gibson gods. He has released records with notable labels such as Tzadik, Ipecac, Profound Lore, Hydrahead, and Kill Rock Stars, and has also been an active improviser, putting out albums and playing alongside greats such as Zach Hill, Weasel Walter, Mike Pride, Jon Irabagon, Chuck Bettis, Kevin Shea, and Tim Dahl. Recently Barr has focused on composing for chamber ensembles, with pieces performed by ACME and Wet Ink Ensemble. In 2009 he was awarded an unrestricted grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

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Kid Millions/Jim Sauter Duo

Kid Millions and Jim Sauter are a heavyweight improvisational duo that pair one of the founding members of Borbetomagus with the drummer from Oneida. Jim Sauter is an improv legend, whose work with Don Dietrich as Industrial Strength and, later, as part of Borbetomagus has been among the most influential in the world of noise/jazz/whatever. He is a constant collaborator, having worked with Rashied Ali, Thurston Moore and, of course, Kid Millions through the years. Kid Millions, aka John Colpitts, is perhaps best known as the drummer for Oneida. He also records as Man Forever, his vehicle for exploring the outer limits of drum performance, which was created to overwhelm, to investigate the nuances that bloom in the midst of repetitive music, and to act as a pure sound experience. Together, Millions and Sauter look to achieve similarly altered mind states through their incendiary live shows.

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Alberich

Look around the Internet long enough and you’ll begin to piece together the many projects that Kris Lapke, aka Alberich, is involved in. But maybe you won’t—there are simply too many. Bronze Age, Furisubi, Louder Than Life, Ash Pool, Christian Cosmos, Northern Cross, and Football Rabbit appear to be a few of them. A betting man would put money on there being a couple more. What connects them all is Lapke’s love of noise, industrial music, and distortion; he’s been a major player on Prurient’s Hospital Productions imprint and offered his “comprehensive audio services” to artists like Wolf Eyes and Kevin Drumm over the years. This love of stretching the boundaries of what music can be is at the core of his audio investigations. Whatever name he chooses to attach to his work, Lapke is absolutely fearless.

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Pharmakon

Margaret Chardiet was born and raised in New York City. She has been making power electronics/death industrial music under the name Pharmakon for five years. As a founding member of the Red Light District collective in Far Rockaway, she has been a figurehead in the underground experimental scene since the age of 17. She describes her drive to make noise music as something akin to an exorcism where she is able to express, her “deep-seated need/drive/urge/possession to reach other people and make them FEEL something (specifically) in uncomfortable/confrontational ways.” The project is also an opportunity to exorcise her own demons and examine her own wild thoughts by pushing them outside of her head. Engineered by Sean Ragon of Cult of Youth at his self-built recording studio Heaven Street, Abandon is Pharmakon’s first proper studio album. It will see release this year on Sacred Bones.

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Noveller

Noveller is the solo electric-guitar project of Brooklyn-based composer and filmmaker Sarah Lipstate. Handling the guitar as her muse, Lipstate summons a sonic palette so rich as to challenge the listener to conceive of how it’s housed in a single instrument manipulated by a solitary performer. She has performed in Rhys Chatham’s Guitar Army and as a member of Glenn Branca’s 100-guitar ensemble. In March 2008, Lipstate joined Brooklyn art-rock outfit Parts & Labor as their guitarist—she contributed to the band’s critically-acclaimed release Receivers and completed several US and European tours before leaving the band in July 2009. Noveller has toured supporting Xiu Xiu, the Jesus Lizard, Man Forever, and Emeralds. Lipstate is also a filmmaker, with her shorts screening at the SXSW film festival in both 2006 and 2007, earning her the Diamond in the Rough Cut award as an exceptional emerging filmmaker at Cinematexas 2006.

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grassmass

Somehow able to connect the dots between the electric jangle of Dick Dale, the cut-and-paste aesthetic of Matmos, the sprawl of Funkadelic, and the moody synth work of the Innovative Communication label, the sound of São Paulo–based musician grassmass is the end result of a chaotic sound design process that combines vintage modules and programmed sequences in real time. Something must be working: grassmass recently became Arto Lindsay’s producer of choice, placing him in such esteemed company as Brian Eno, David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, and John Zorn. An accomplished guitar and bass player and analog synth freak, he changes musical gears often, switching between organic minimalism and eerie keyboard excursions. His recent project, the duo Cassady, stands at the crossroads between analog electronics and vintage blues. What a long strange trip it will be.

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Hiram Martinez

Bathing the slow-motion crawl of his beats in petroleum jelly, the music of Mexico’s Hiram Martinez tempers the energy of hip hop and house with lo-fi washes of swampy gloom. Describing his sound as “low-budget movie music,” Hiram channels the droning bass of Sunn O))), the detached beats of post-dubstep, and the glitchy ambient sounds of Tokyo experimentalists. Maybe it’s his experience as a graphic designer that enables Hiram to create such evocative soundtracks, but his sparse less-is-more approach maps the poignant scenes and emotional spaces of the city much more effectively than any club banger.

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