Horizonal Album Out Now
On Thursday, May 5 Ben Neill performs music from Horizonal with live sonic animations of paintings by Andy Moses. Curated by Terry Dame, sponsored by Hyphen Hub, part of Creative Technology Week in New York City.
New Collaboration with Mimi Goese
Ben Neil continues his collaboration with dream pop vocalist Mimi Goese, blending sensual lyricism and technology. In their new music Goese and Neill are exploring the musical and poetic qualities of mathematics and science, working in collaboration with chaos mathematician Ralph Abraham and scientists from the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries. The new songs combine the interplay of Goese’s captivating vocals and the electro-acoustic explorations of Neill’s self-designed mutantrumpet with sounds created from fractal equations and Hudson River environmental data. The reflective, sometimes surreal lyrics find poetry in numbers over glitchy beats, deep sub bass, and ambient textures.
Goese and Neill began working together in the mid 2000’s on Persephone, a music theater work presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival in 2010 and released as Songs for Persephone on Ramseur Records in 2011. While the duo’s new material is more futuristic and electronic sounding than the electro-orchestral sounds of Persephone, a similar approach to composing is taken in that each song is built up from a different piece of found material. In Persephone, sampled fragments of 19th century Romantic pieces formed the basis for each song; now the samples are richly textured clusters of microtones generated from Abraham’s mathematical realizations or melodic or rhythmic patterns that reflect environmental changes in the Hudson River. Both Goese and Neill live in the Hudson Valley, and the natural beauty of the area was a major source of inspiration for Persephone. Now they approach the Hudson River from a different perspective, through the lens of the REON system that monitors scores of different environmental factors 24 hours a day.
The Demo is an electronic opera by Mikel Rouse and Ben Neill. The piece is inspired by the remarkable story of computer pioneer Douglas Engelbart’s prophetic vision of a world interconnected through personal computers. His 1968 demo rolled out virtually all that would define modern computing including videoconferencing, text editing, and something called a "mouse." Using emerging digital technologies to explore live performance with interactive media and original music, The Demo reveals the origin of computing and the internet as a unique hybrid performance event.
The world premiere of The Demo was April 1-2, 2015 at the Bing Concert Hall as part of the Stanford Live series.
A review of the March 2016 performance at the University of Kansas Lied Center can be viewed here.
Horizonal Exhibition with Andy Moses at Ramapo College
MAHWAH, N.J. — Horizonal, a collaborative art exhibition by composer/performer Ben Neill and visual artist Andy Moses, opens in the Pascal Gallery at Ramapo College on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 with an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. There will be a talk by Neill, also a Ramapo College music professor, at 6:30 p.m. The show includes paintings by Moses and an ambient video/music installation by Neill, which uses Moses’ paintings as its visual material. The exhibition continues through April 22.
Moses’ work is a futuristic hybrid of abstraction and landscape that suggests the theme of a horizon through the use of smooth horizontal lines. Often painted on concave and convex surfaces, the luminous pieces evoke a sense of dynamic movement and the play of light. Moses does not seek to replicate imagery from the natural world, but to mimic nature itself. Using paints from the aerospace industry, his complex process of pouring paint is informed by the physical behavior and interaction of his medium with the forces of nature.
Working from Moses’ paintings, Neill expands the imagery into an ambient video and sound installation. The subtly shifting sonic animations of Moses’ paintings and the ambient music are generated by Neill’s performances on the mutantrumpet, his self-designed electro-acoustic instrument. The music and video are recorded simultaneously using the mutantrumpet and an array of digital hardware and software; the instrument’s tone, timbres and various controllers are all mapped across both audio and visual parameters. The sound includes remixes of music from Neill’s Horizonal CD, released in 2015 on Audiokult Recordings, Vienna.
On Wednesday, April 20 at 5:30 p.m., Neill will demonstrate the mutantrumpet and give a concert in the Pascal Gallery. Admission to this gallery concert event is free.