Composer/performer Ben Neill is the inventor of the Mutantrumpet, a hybrid electro-acoustic instrument, and is widely recognized as a musical innovator through his recordings, performances and installations. Neill’s music blends influences from electronic, jazz, and minimalist music, blurring the lines between digital media and acoustic instrument performance.

Neill has recorded eleven albums of his music on labels including Universal/Verve, Thirsty Ear, Astralwerks, and Six Degrees. Currently he is an Artist in Residence at Nokia Bell Labs where he is exploring new modes of emotion transfer and communication between people using music, visual media, and hybrid instruments. Performances include BAM Next Wave Festival, Big Ears Festival, Lincoln Center, Whitney Museum of American Art, Bing Concert Hall at Stanford, Getty Museum, Cite de la Musique Paris, Moogfest, Spoleto Festival, Umbria Jazz, Bang On A Can Festival, ICA London, Istanbul Jazz Festival, Vienna Jazz Festival, and the Edinburgh Festival, among many others. Neill has worked closely with many musical innovators including La Monte Young, John Cage, John Cale, Pauline Oliveros, Rhys Chatham, DJ Spooky, David Berhman, Mimi Goese, King Britt, and Nicolas Collins. Neill also leads concerts of La Monte Young’s The Second Dream of the High Tension Stepdown Line Transformer with an international brass ensemble; performances have recently been presented in New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Amsterdam, Huddersfield, Den Bosch, Oslo, Krems, Koln, Los Angeles, and Warsaw.

Neill began developing the Mutantrumpet in the early 1980s. Initially an acoustic instrument (a combination of 3 trumpets and a trombone combined into one), he collaborated with synthesizer Robert Moog to integrate electronics. In 1992, while in residency at the STEIM research and development lab for new instruments in Amsterdam, Neill made the mutantrumpet fully computer interactive. In 2008 he created a new version of his instrument at STEIM, and returned there in 2016-17 to design Version 4.0 which made its debut 2019. See a more detailed history of the instrument here.

Other current projects include a collaboration with vocalist/composer Mimi Goese that explores the musical and poetic qualities of mathematics and science through collaborations with chaos mathematician Ralph Abraham and the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries. The new songs combine the interplay of Goese’s captivating vocals and the electroacoustic explorations of Neill’s self-designed mutantrumpet with sounds created from fractal mathematics and Hudson River environmental data.

A native of North Carolina, Neill holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from Manhattan School of Music. He studied composition with La Monte Young and was also mentored by composer/performer Jon Hassell in the early 1980’s. Since 2008 he has been a music professor at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

Neill has also composed extensively for television and film, see his portfolio of Music for Media here.

DISCOGRAPHY

SOLO RELEASES

Ben Neill, Green Machine (Remastered), Blue Math Music, B303
Ben Neill & David Wojnarowicz, ITSOFOMO, JABS 001 double vinyl/digital
Ben Neill, Souvenir and Transition Dub, Blue Math Music, B301, B302
Mimi Goese and Ben Neill, Viscera, Amazon Music Exclusive release, 2017
Ben Neill, Horizonal, Audiokult Records 2015
Mimi Goese and Ben Neill, Songs for Persephone, Ramseur Records 2011
Ben Neill, Night Science, Thirsty Ear Recordings 2009
Ben Neill, Automotive, Six Degrees Records, 657036 1077-2MJ
Ben Neill, Goldbug, Verve Antilles CD 314 557 085-2
Ben Neill, Triptycal, Verve Antilles CD 314 533 184-2
Ben Neill, Green Machine, Astralwerks CD ASW 6159
Ben Neill, Torchtower, New Tone CD 6723
Ben Neill & David Wojnarowicz, ITSOFOMO, New Tone CD 6710
Ben Neill, Mainspring, Ear-Rational LP/CD 1002

REMIXES, COMPILATIONS and PERFORMANCES

Ben Neill, The Other Side of Midnight, Echoes live broadcast compilation
Ben Neill, The Other Side of Midnight, compilation on Audiokult Recordings
Ben Neill, Futura, Still:Echoes compilation, produced by Echoes radio program
Ben Neill, Afterimage, 12” single includes remix by DJ Pinch
Ben Neill, Perfume, remix of Latin-Grammy winning artist Bajofondo, Universal Latin Records
Ben Neill and David Rothenberg, Myagostrov in the Deep (Hudsonia Remix), Whale Music Remixed CD
Ben Neill and Bill Jones, Color Bar Remix, Eyewash DVD Volume 2, Forward Motion Theater
Ben Neill with Andrew Montgomery, Shock the Monkey (Peter Gabriel), Leaves from the Tree compilation, Vitamin Records CD-8597
Ben Neill, Turbonium X, Street Mix vol.1 compilation CD, Volkswagen/Rock River /Universal Music
Ben Neill & Fred Jorio, Comatose remixes of song by Lisa Hall, Reprise Records 9 44544-2
Ben Neill & David Wojnarowicz, ITSOFOMO excerpt, Optic Nerve CD-ROM, Red Hot Organization
Ben Neill, After the Gold Rush, (Neil Young), Wired Magazine Presents: Music Futurists, Rhino CD R2 75607
Ben Neill, Tunnel Vision, 12” single, Antilles remixes by Spring Heel Jack, DJ Krust, X-Ecutioners
Ben Neill, Pentagram/Flotation Device, 12″ single, Antilles remixes by DJ Spooky, DJ Soulslinger
Ben Neill, Flotation Device OK Jungle mix by DJ Soulslinger, Liquid Sky Music CD JS116
Ben Neill, Sistrum, 12″ single, remixes by DJ Spooky, Single Cell Orchestra, Astralwerks 6159
Ben Neill, Somnabula, Excursions in Ambience compilation CD/LP/cass, Astralwerks 6153
Ben Neill, Ether, Ambient No. 1 Fantasy compilation, Sub Terranean SPV 089-38782
Ben Neill, Sistrum, Nicotine Beat Mix, Werks Like a 12″ compilation, Astralwerks 6179-2
Ben Neill, 678 Streams, Century 21 compilation, New Tone CD 6730
Ben Neill, Bal, Utopia Americana compilation, New Tone CD 6707
Ben Neill, Money Talk, Virtuosity with Purpose compilation, Ear-Rational CD 1034
Ben Neill & David Wojnarowicz, ITSOFOMO excerpt, Tellus   CD#25
Ben Neill, Music for ‘The King of Thule’‘ Tellus CD #27 “Mini-Mall”
David Behrman, Unforeseen Events, XI CD 105
David Behrman, Leapday Night, Lovely Music LP/CD VR 1042
John Cage, Concert for Piano and Orchestra, Wergo CD
John Cale, Walking On Locusts, Hannibal/Rykodisc HNCS 1395
Rhys Chatham, Die Donnergotter, Dossier LP/CD 7538
Nicolas Collins, 100 of the World’s Most Beautiful Melodies, Trace Elements CD 1018
Nicolas Collins, It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, Trace Elements CD1019
Nicolas Collins, Still Lives, Unknown Public Cassette Magazine 1994
DJ Spooky, Songs of A Dead Dreamer, Asphodel CD/LP 0961
DJ Spooky, Riddim Warfare, Outpost/Geffen CD OPRD-30031
DJ Spooky, Necropolis, Knitting Factory Records CD
Deep Listening Band, Tosca Salad, DLB 001 CD
Marcel Duchamp, Erratum Musical, Edition Rene Block CD 202
Echo Art, Coreografie, New Tone CD 6712
Electric Owthaus, Co-rage-us, Live at the Knitting Factory, Vol. 5
Fast Forward, Same Same, XI CD 108
Petr Kotik, Solos and Incidental Harmonies, Ear-Rational CD 1007
Pilgrimage-9 Songs of Ecstasy, Point Music
Paul Schutze, Abysmal Evenings, Virgin AMBT 19 7243 8 42175 2 5
Dave Soldier, Smut, Avant CD 019
La Monte Young, The Second Dream of the High-Tension Stepdown Line Transformer, includes liner notes essay by Neill, Gramavision CD R279467

BEN NEILL PRESS QUOTES

“Ben Neill is using a schizophrenic trumpet to create art music for the people.”
Wired Magazine

“Ben Neill performs the Mutantrumpet, a super-instrument of his own design that he also uses to control lights and other elements in the show. The music is a dense, continously-shifting tapestry of electronic beats.”
Wired Magazine

“The avant-garde and EDM come together in music by Ben Neill & his mutantrumpet.”
WNYC New Sounds/John Schaefer

“A creative composer, genius performer, and inventor of the mutantrumpet.” Time Out NY

“Ben Neill is a musical powerhouse, a serious and individual talent.”
Time Out London

“9 out of 10 rating…Ben Neill is a mad scientist, and he has discovered the formula that breaks musical barriers.” Mixmag

“Masterfully blurs the lines between electronic dance music and jazz sounds”
Billboard

A great sonic alchemist…luscious, seductive and quite addictive.
All About Jazz

“Neill’s astonishing mutantrumpet blends brass and computer with wit, beauty and solid musicianship.” Village Voice

“The opera offers hints of the era through sounds of protests and musical allusions to 1960s psychedelia and West Coast jazz. But the heavy beats are more reminiscent of Electronic Dance Music, transplanting ‘The Demo’ to the present day.” London Daily Mail

“Night Science is certainly as nocturnal as its title, but this isn’t background music. It’s forward-sounding and wildly beat-conscious; it’s a creation that looks at rhythm, jazz, African funk, grime, and dubstep with fresh ears and a bold compositional sensibility that extends both soundworld science and electronic music to a horizon that extends as far as the ear — and the imagination — can hear.”
All Music Guide

“Ben Neill plays an instrument he designed called the mutantrumpet, a three-belled trumpet that allows him to shift sonorities instantaneously, from muted to open, clear to froggy.” New York Times

“Neill works with harmonies based on numerical relationships that produce spiritually powerful resonances. The result is trippy, otherworldly and seamlessly groovy.” Interview Magazine

“Ben Neill is the mad scientist of dancefloor jazz…an inventive and stimulating voyage.” CMJ Monthly

“Calling Ben Neill a trumpeter is like calling Mr. Spock a frequent flyer…as vibrant as the galaxies beyond, both adventurous and artful.” Boston Phoenix

“If he were around today, Miles would unequivocally be picking up on what Ben Neill’s is laying down.”
All About Jazz