Experimental music and conceptual art come together at Factory Works Gallery

Factory Works Gallery at the Pajama Factory is proud to host a night of art and music with “Factory Works Gallery Presents: experimental electronic music,” Friday from 7-10 p.m., in the unique, rejuvenated industrial space of Factory Works Gallery in Studio 10 on the second floor of the Pajama Factory, 1307 Park Ave.

Experimental electronic music has become increasingly popular in Central Pennsylvania and last September, area artists had the opportunity to showcase their talents with “An Evening of Experimental Sound,” in the Community Room of the Pajama Factory. The event was composed of four PA-based acts, each with a unique approach to the realm of experimental music. Acts who performed included Moth Bucket, TEG, Clone 334, Rolling Boil and Chelsea Smarr.

This year’s show is the first in a series of ongoing events which seek to activate the current exhibitions in the gallery. The evening will feature a range of electronic musical acts, curated by area musician Joseph Alex who records as Clone 334.

The event also will serve as a closing reception for the gallery’s current exhibition, “Ill Communication,” which will be on display through Saturday and features the conceptual photographs and prints of area artist and assistant director of Factory Works Gallery, Brian James Spies.

“My idea for this show was to book experimental musicians that would complement his art,” Alex said. “We have three performers who span a range of unique sounds and styles.”

Featured will be atmospheric and textural music from Erie’s onewayness, improv harp from Chelsea Smarr, of Frackville, and the electro-mechanical impressionistic sonicscapes of Millville’s Shivasongster.

Onewayness is Adam Holquist, a composer, improviser and multi-instrumentalist who uses guitars, pianos, analog and digital synthesis, spoken word and field recordings, and a variety of hardware and software tools to create atmospheric and textural music which draws influence from a variety of sources. These may include ambient, drone, minimalism, post-rock and vintage and contemporary electronic “listening music.”

Smarr whirls together an improvised cacophony of experimental compositions during her live performances.

Smarr has gained recognition as a solo international touring artist, using a variety of guitar pedals and percussive elements to create textural soundscapes. Her sounds have made appearances in a variety of places, including performances in Montreal’s Jacuzzi Club, Kutztown University’s Planetarium, the Mauch Chunk Opera House, Pottsville’s Sovereign Majestic Theatre, the Susquehanna Art Museum of Harrisburg and as a regular staple of various annual arts festivals in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Shivasongster is Jeremy dePrisco, who grew up listening to Echoes and Hearts of Space and the signals beaming from his father’s attic Ham Radio workbench. After being a closet sound experimentalist for over 15 years, Jeremy embraced his electro side and love of audio manipulation via the Shivasongster moniker in 2010. Since then, Jeremy has been attending electronic music events and collaborating with other electro artists.

The Factory Works Gallery is housed within the Pajama Factory, a vibrant community of small businesses, artists/artisans, entrepreneurs and nonprofits housed in 300,000 square feet of historic manufacturing buildings. The Gallery hosts exhibitions of established local and regional artists as well as pop up exhibits for students and emerging artists.

“I wanted to find a place in Williamsport where I could host shows for these fringe artists that are making interesting and artistic music that doesn’t fit at typical venues,” Alex said. “When I got in touch with Factory Works Gallery it just seemed like the perfect match.”

Alex said the show will be similar to last year’s event in having a do-it-yourself mentality and trying to find a place for the artists’ music.

“Factory Works Gallery is a more intimate venue and the audience will be up closer to the performances while also enjoying the artwork on display,” he said.

A prolific artist, Spies earned his bachelor of arts from Lycoming College in 2002, and master of fine arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2012. Just this year, Spies’ work has been featured at Susquehanna University, Duke University and Heavy Bubble HQ in Philadelphia. His sound art piece Solitaire has been continued over from 2016 at The Historic Eastern State Penitentiary Museum in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia.

Spies’ conceptual photographs and prints are about uniqueness and self-reflection and Alex thinks the music also will reflect these thoughts.

“Onewayness, traveling in from Erie, creates atmospheric and textural music, and I listen to his albums when I want to reflect,” he said. “All the performances incorporate improvisation too, so there’s a chance anything can happen. And once it’s done, you’ll never hear the same performance again.”

Alex’s plan is to continue “Factory Works Gallery Presents” as a recurring series and he would love to book an event as often as possible.

“I’m really interested in finding more local acts to put on,” he said. “Lots of cities have weird and experimental electronic music events and I want to make them happen here in Williamsport.”

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