by Steve Dollar
Music has long been performed in the galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But this week marks the first time the Cloisters, its medieval art and architecture outpost in Fort Tryon Park, will be overtaken by a veritable army of guitars.
In the first collaboration between the museum and the annual New York Guitar Festival, 16 players from an array of musical styles and traditions will perform Saturday in the daylong event, “Audible Cloisters: Guitar Marathon.”
For David Spelman, founder and artistic director of the festival, the Cloisters offered intriguing possibilities—in particular, he said, the chance “to sonically activate the space, with its remarkable acoustics and amazing Gothic and Romanesque architecture.”
The leader of the seminal drone-metal band Earth has seen his share of sacred venues in his three-decade career, few as enticing as the Cloisters.
“We played in Leeds, which was one of the coldest shows ever, in an empty, no-longer-in-use church in northern England,” he said, where neither he nor the drummer could feel their feet by night’s end. “It was a Gothic Revival, a really huge church, so the reverb was pretty crazy.”
Although he will play versions of old English folk songs from a new solo album, Mr. Carlson can relate to the monastic in his own music. “Definitely the long, sustained drone thing has been used to alter consciousness for spiritual purposes,” he said. “These spaces were developed for that.”
Dylan Carlson will be playing solo shows in Philadelphia and Brooklyn in addition to his performance at the New York Guitar Festival. Then he joins the rest of Earth to play Maryland Deathfest and Hellfest ahead of their just-announced full US tour with Boris. All dates and ticket links available HERE.