A musical composition built around a single note opens a path to transcendence for some people. For others, it’s a fast-track to tedium.
State College listeners can decide about drone music for themselves on May 6, when 3 Dots in downtown State College hosts a “Drone Party” from 5-8 as part of its First Fridays series.
Located at 137 East Beaver Avenue in State College, 3 Dots is a vibrant downtown space that hosts artistic and innovative experiences.
The Drone Party, curated, organized and featuring performances by State College indie rock band The Long Afternoon, will let attendees experience many styles of drone music and even take part in a drone performance.
The organizers recommend attendees set expectations aside and approach the music with an open mind. “The same drone piece can seem like monotony to one person, and a sublime exploration of subtlety and nuance to another,” says Erica Quinn, 3 Dots’ executive director. “It’s in the ear of the listener.”
“Drone music has a rich and deep history in rock and avant garde music,” says Eston Martz, guitarist for The Long Afternoon and the event’s chief organizer. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with 3 Dots and some fantastic local musicians to share it with the community.”
Drone pieces can be hypnotic, carrying listeners on a meditative journey. “Drones engage us in a very different way than most music, so you do need to ‘turn off your mind, relax and float downstream,’” Martz says. “If you can do that, drifting along with a drone is a perfect way to bliss out.”
During the first half of the event, performers will come together in various configurations to play some notable drone compositions and several improvised pieces.
It will begin with a performance of Rhys Chatham’s “Guitar Trio part 1.” Other pieces will include an industrial drone, as pioneered in the 1970s by groups like Throbbing Gristle; “From the Side of Man and Womankind,” a violin-focused piece recorded in 1971 by Tony Conrad with the German band Faust; a “Krautrock”-inspired piece redolent of groups like Can, Neu, and Stereolab; and a piece inspired by the work of metal drone artists like SUNN 0))).
Other performances will include The Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs,” and a “pastoral” improvisation highlighting a gentler approach to drone music, as explored by artists such as Stars of the Lid, Labradford and Flying Saucer Attack.
The second half of the evening will feature curators The Long Afternoon. The group will perform drone-inspired work from their last two albums and debut new material from their upcoming album. They also will play “Guitar Trio part II,” completing the Rhys Chatham piece that began the event.
The evening will conclude with The Long Afternoon and other musicians performing perhaps the most widely known drone song, the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows,” during which audience members will be invited to participate.
ABOUT 3 DOTS
Located at 137 East Beaver Avenue in State College, 3 Dots is a vibrant downtown space that hosts artistic and innovative experiences. With facilities for exhibition, performance, meetings and more, 3 Dots offers the Centre Region an accessible, intersectional, judgment-free space for creative catalyzation. The facility is committed to equity, sharing unexpected experiences, and imbuing a true warmth in the connections it fosters within the community. 3 Dots is defined by the community members it supports, and its regional partners.