New Orleans, LA // 2011-2012

The Music Box is an experiment in musical architecture. It is a New Orleans Airlift production created by artist and curator Delaney Martin in collaboration with 25 artists, including the international street art star Swoon. This interactive installation features a collection of purpose-built shacks and miniature houses, each containing an instrument or having instruments built into its structure. The wooden shacks that make up this “shanty-town” are constructed from salvaged materials reclaimed from a late-18th-century Creole cottage that collapsed on the site several years ago.

Housing a slew of unconventional and inventive instruments, The Music Box offered its visitors a blank canvas to create music in an entirely new way. In addition to public opening hours, Quintron, the musician and local hero, conducted a series of legendary concerts at the shantytown that featured a changing roster of world-class musicians such as Mannie Fresh, Hamid Drake, James Singleton, Dicky Landry, Helen Gillet, Andrew W.K. and Jim White . The instruments of The Music Box were also put to test in recordings sessions and pop-up performances by amazing and diverse musicians including Thruston Moore, longtime Swoon collaborators Dark Dark Dark, the sample-based band Javelin, the Brooklyn pop punk duo Japanther, and noise heroes Black Dice. Quintron returned for a final Shantytown Orchestra performance on June 8th and 9th 2012.

The Music Box has closed to the public, but New Orleans Airlift, Music Box artists and Swoon are already hard at work on the next phase of our project, Dithyrambalina. We moving full speed ahead with our plans to build a permanent musical house for the city of New Orleans. We will use all the lessons we learned at The Music Box to make it the best musical house in the whole entire world! Follow our progress and look our for new releases of recorded material by folks like Thurston Moore over the summer!