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Drenched in complete darkness (as you can see), Majical Cloudz, the Canadian duo of singer-songwriter Devon Welsh and producer Matthew Otto, captivated an audience with a performance as personal as you’ll find.

Welsh’s singing isn’t perfect, but it has a raw validity to it that helps convey every word that he offers. While singing, he scans the room, walking slowly from side to side, making sure his point is being communicated. He would even stomp up and down at times while performing, even if it had nothing to do with the beat or tempo of the song, just because its what helped him express that given lyric. He lead the show, but you couldn’t forget the steady electronic music that Otto provided, giving us the music template and background that supported it all.

It was a powerful performance with no gimmicks, just pure music and emotion. It was refreshing, to say the least.

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Guardian Alien at Basilica Soundscape 2014

By Will Oliver, September 14th 2014 Other

1_Guardian Alien_Basilica Soundscape

Guardian Alien is the project of Brooklyn-based drummer Greg Fox, as well as vocalist Alex Drewchin. Their set at Basilica Soundscape yesterday served as my introduction to their work. All I can say is damn, Fox is one hell of a drummer.

Their songs are of the experimental/avant-garde world, with Drewchin’s vocals and electronic work built around the unstoppable steady force that is Fox behind the kit. Their songs took a while to get going, but once they hit that groove, it was hard not to be taken over by what they were doing.

Fox is so good behind his kit that Basilica brought him back out to play solo from an elevated area above the stage to warm the crowd before Swans took the stage. Now that’s saying something.

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1_Emily Reo_Basilica Soundscape 2014

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Bedroom pop artist Emily Reo from fellow music bloggers and music fans, and everything they said was true.

Reo kicked off day 2 of Basilica Soundscape, captivating myself and the rest of the audience in the North Hall. While her set is composed of electronic compositions built around loops, vocal effects, its power is rooted from a natural songwriting ability that shines through everything else.

She played tracks off of her 2013 album Olive Juice, including highlights “Wind,” “Peace,” and her cover of Built To Spill’s “Car.” She finished with an new song that featured impressive vocals and layers that she built to an incredible cathartic finish. Based on that song, I can’t wait to see what Reo releases in the future.

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1_Richard Reed Parry_Basilica Soundscape 2014

Richard Reed Parry is best known as the tall multi-instrumentalist of Arcade Fire. He also happens to be a talented composer. A few months ago he collaborated with chamber ensemble yMusic to release an album called Music For Heart and Breath. That album can be taken in the most literal sense, as it’s compositions based around their own heartbeats. It’s hard to believe that no one else had previously thought of this, but it’s good for Parry’s sake.

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1_Tim Hecker_Basilica Soundscape 2014

Montreal-based electronic musician Tim Hecker makes the type of brooding electronic music that was practically created to be shared in a place like the old factory Basilica Hudson where Basilica Soundscape takes place.

For those unfamiliar to Hecker, his electronic style is one of the brooding ambient/drone nature. While the earlier moments of his set were comprised of slow-stirring ambience, the set gradually built to levels of thick layered bass that literally shuck your entire body. The bass so thick that many ear-plugless fans were seen sticking there fingers in their ears.

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1_Gamelan Dharma Swara_Basilica Soundscape 2014

I knew nothing of Gamelan Dharma Swara headed into their set at Basilica Soundscape. But once I saw that crowd members began sitting in a circle around their extravagant instrument set up that was placed in the middle of the crowd area, I knew this was going to be something a little different.

As it turns out, Gamelan Dharma Swara is a Balinese gamelan ensemble based out of New York City, and the extravagant instruments at hand are known as Gender Wayang and Gamelan Semara Dana. The nearly 20 members that group was built of sat cross-legged as they struck these instruments, creating rather lovely blissful arrangements that were different than anything I’ve heard before.

Rather than songs, these pieces were expressions shared within each of its players, which then spread to create a connection with the audience, some who were sitting, some who were standing. They went on to takeover the entire room, surely one of the best discoveries for me of Basilica Soundscape 2014.

Find more photos posted below.
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1_Julia Holter_Basilica Soundscape 2014

I finally got to catch a live show from Julia Holter last night at Basilica Soundscape, and the special atmosphere that the abandoned factory of Basilica Hudson provided seemed to be as ideal a setting as any.

Holter’s set was an otherworldly journey of shared fragility that was both dreamy and haunting, sometimes both. While she sometimes performs live with other musicians, last night’s set was solo with just her and her keyboard. It was all she needed to dazzle and delight the audience, often making it feel as though time had slowed down completely as she was playing, leaving you with enough to time truly take it all in.

She performed a selection of material from last year’s Loud City Song, with some variation thrown in there for good measure. Below, take in her recently released new single “Don’t Make Me Over.” You can also find more photos from her set.

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1_Endless Boogie_Basilica Soundscape 2014

Up next at Basilica were Endless Boogie, a New York City-based band that know how to straight jam. Last year they released their most recent album, Long Island.

Although they play long-winded guitar jams that seem to build and build, they’re not a “jam-band.” Rather, they dive into furious explosions of blues-inspired psych-freakouts that are extended just enough to keep the endless boogie going. The name certainly fits.

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1_Michael Chapman_Basilica Soundscape

The first set of the 2014 edition of Basilica Soundscape came from 73-year-old English guitarist Michael Chapman. His soothing guitar sounds were a good fit for the relaxing mood of the festival, which goes down in the former factory turned music space Basilica Hudson located upstate in Hudson, New York.

Chapman showed a calm expertise in the folk-rock genre, gracefully delighting the crowd as they started to get settled into the building. It was my introduction to his work, but clearly I have some catching up to do.

Find more photos from Michael’s set posted below.

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