Over the last several years a war has been taking place in the hills a few hours north of Manhattan. The war is as old as people and centers on past verses present. A particular battle has its epicenter in the small city of Hudson, NY, where an army of metropolitan ex-pats have landed and introduced a new way of seeing the world. The setting is the unique upstate town that was once a booming industrial city whose heyday was the time of the birth of the Erie Canal, and by the late 1980s was waiting in hospice. Not surprisingly, it was with the same pioneering spirit that founded the city that drove a few adventurous individuals to start a movement that has since served as a fountain of youth reviving Hudson’s very soul.
A player in my metaphoric battle is Kris Perry, an artist, musician and metal worker who found a unique perspective on merging the old industrial foundation of our past and today’s indie music and arts scenes. With the help of funding through a well promoted KickStarter campaign, Kris set out on a project called, MACHINES. Machines, in Kris’s words is “… an intersection of sculpture, music, and performance.” Through the repurposing of defunct industrial tools, discarded machine parts and gabs of motors, solenoids, pneumatics, and hydraulics, Kris produced an assembly line of instruments that liken themselves to the mind-bending drawings of Dr Seuss. There are trigger driven kick drums set against toms crafted from 40 gallon drums that are played by a discarded sawzall, control panels assembled from old wiring and reconfigured mixers and pendulum hammers clanking against enormous arches to supply powerful fills.
To play these machines through their epic percussion pieces, Kris enlisted regional artists which include Tommy Stinson (founding member of The Replacements, bassist for Guns N’ Roses and Soul Asylum), Melissa Auf der Maur (solo artist andformer bassist of Hole, Smashing Pumpkins), Brian Dewan (artist, musician, and acclaimed creator of the Dewanatron), Gideon Crevoshay (folk artist and composer), Elvis Perkins (acclaimed folk rock artist), John Rosenthal (The Giraffes), Chris Turco (Trans Am, Chron Turbine, Pines Of Nowhere, Assembly Of Devices) and others. Machines debuted at the Pitchfork supported Basilica Music Fest back in August to a packed house that surrounded a 360° stage of goliath metal machines. The magic of this project even caught the ear of the Discovery Channel.
Since that time Kris and crew have embarked on the first of what they would like to be a series of gallery installations and shows beginning this past Thursday. Performances by collaborating musicians Brian Dewan, Chris Turco, Tommy Stinson, John Rosenthal, Ben Fundis, and Elvis Perkins will take place there again on Sept 13th and 29th from 6-pm. It’s all part of ”Industrial Evolution” curated by Linda Yablonsky at Maurizio Cattelan and Massimiliano Gioni’s Family Business gallery on West 21st Street in New York ”Industrial Evolution” curated by Linda Yablonsky at Maurizio Cattelan and Massimiliano Gioni’s Family Business gallery on West 21st Street in New York. It includes work by Elise McMahon, Brian Dewan, Bill Stone, Peter Nadin, and Vanessa Haroutunian and runs through the end of September. Touring with a set that would need a forklift and a crane to move and assemble is a tough goal to make real but Machines has hopes to continue the run at regional industrial centers like MassMOCA in North Adams, MA. We’ll keep you posted on that.
For more scraps on MACHINES dial in here.