Isabel Lewis: Hudson Line Mixtape
The Hudson Line Mixtape was created to accompany the train journey on the Hudson Line from Grand Central Station in New York City to Beacon, New York. It forms the bridge between the cityscape and the landscape, two kinds of sites across which my work Occasions and Other Occurrences unfolded in the summer of 2016. On blazing hot Friday nights in June and July the piece began in Dia Chelsea, a former marble-cutting factory, with large garage doors opened up to the Manhattan streets. The work continued along the riverside of Long Dock Park in Beacon, where electronic music and dancers were intertwined with driftwood, the gentle splashing of water along the shore, the sounds of insects, and the trembling of tree branches.
The Hudson Line Mixtape is electronic music made to be experienced with peripheral attention. At once ambient and rhythmic, the tracks sample, layer, distort, loop, and morph together fragments from a broad range of musical material—from medieval chamber music to Juicy J chopped and screwed then smoothed over and reorganized like a mutating body writhing and swaying. It might be Petey Pablo’s defiant and angry voice pushing through other layers of sounds only to recede and then drift in again. It might be the harp from Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games” played in reverse and looped. The mixtape also features the sound of my own voice masked and transformed by digital effects as well as the click of the train attendant’s hole punch as they check tickets. The hope was to, in my way, “score” the journey as though it were a cinematic experience. I wanted to gently draw the visitors’ attention to the beauty of the train ride itself and to heighten the hypnotic effect of the body being jostled rhythmically as the cars move along the tracks.
More information on Isabel Lewis’s Occasions and Other Occurrences, which took place at Dia during summer 2016, can be found here.
Isabel Lewis was born in the Dominican Republic in 1981. She lives in Berlin.