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Fathom – Hudson River Data as Music Performance Excerpts
Excerpts from the premiere performance of Fathom by Ben Neill and Mimi Goese
Endure from Fathom Released Today
Dream pop vocalist Mimi Goese and electronic trumpeter Ben Neill create elegant, eerie electronica that blends sensual lyricism and technology in their unique musical collaboration. The duo’s next chapter in their ongoing Life You Are series is a pair of vocal-driven ballads, Endure and Ocean Rain, which share a timely environmental, sociological and emotional lament. Endure, born of the artists’ Hudson River data project Fathom, tells the tale of Hurricane Sandy’s lasting devastation, while Ocean Rain is a cover of the 1984 Echo & The Bunnymen song exploring the themes of overwhelm and inner turmoil. Through a present day prism both songs carry weighty metaphors of life’s challenging and ever changing landscape tinged with hope. Goese co-led Hugo Largo, a coveted New York art-rock band that helped shape the horizon of dream pop on two albums for Brian Eno’s Opal label. She later collaborated with Moby. Neill, meanwhile, is an instrumental tinkerer who has explored the fertile intersection of jazz, electronic, and modern classical music. He worked with electronic instrument pioneer Robert Moog to build an early iteration of the Mutantrumpet, a hybrid electro-acoustic instrument that allows the player to switch between multiple bells and create digital soundscapes. In 2010 they collaborated on Persephone, a multimedia piece for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave festival. Released as an album in 2011,Songs for Persephone summoned Kate Bush, Cocteau Twins, and the 21st-century dreams of acts like M83 and My Brightest Diamond. Performances: Big Ears Festival 2019, Whitney Museum of American Art, Lincoln Center, Moogfest, Joe’s Pub, ICMC 2019 at NYU, festivals in Italy, Portugal. New Music USA grant for creation of Fathom; Hudson River Data as Music.
Fathom at ICMC/NYCEMF
Mimi Goese and Ben Neill performed excerpts from Fathom on the 2019 International Computer Music Conference/New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival on June 20, 2019. The festival was hosted by NYU, Goese and Neill’s performance was held at Fridman Gallery in lower Manhattan. The duo will begin releasing music from Fathom as well as other new pieces based on sounds created by fractal mathematician Ralph Abraham in Fall 2019.
Fathom at Woodstock Artist Association and Museum
Mimi Goese and Ben Neill will perform Fathom as part of the current Radius art exhibition at WAAM. The concert will take place Sunday, August 20 at 2PM, WAAM is located at 28 Tinker St, Woodstock, NY 12498. Admission is $12/$8 for WAM members.
Hudson Valley 1 article on Fathom
Video that describes the development of Fathom
Fathom is a new multimedia piece by composer/performers Ben Neill and Mimi Goese in collaboration with the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries (BIRE) of Clarkson University. BIRE is a not-for-profit environmental research organization working to expand understanding of rivers and estuaries for the benefit of public health, ecosystems, New York’s economy and quality of life.
One of BIRE’s most important projects is monitoring of environmental data in the Hudson River through their REON system, which streams from multiple sensor arrays. Neill was approached in 2016 by BIRE to create a musical piece based on the scientific data, and asked his collaborator Mimi Goese to work with him on it. The duo is scheduledto premiere Fathom at the Towne Crier Café in Beacon, New York on Novermber 17, 2016 as part of the Science Cafe series. The Towne Crier is an important music venue that seats 175 people and has presented leading national touring acts since 1972.
Fathom will be a 30-40 minute piece composed for voice, instruments, electronic sound, and digital video. Neill will perform on his self designed mutantrumpet, which allows him to control a wide variety of electronic media in real time. Goese will provide the melodic and lyrical content, poetically exploring how the BIRE data gives insight to the fundamental processes of life as well as the fragility of the river and the natural environment. Percussionist David van Tieghem will join Goese and Neill in the performance. Depending on funding, Fathom may be expanded to a larger ensemble including woodwinds, keyboard, vibraphone, and guitar.
The musical material in Fathom will be directly derived from the REON data streams using a variety of computer software. The patterns can either generate sounds directly or be translated into conventional musical notation for the performers. During the performance real time video animations of the patterns will be projected using a video performance program. This will make the connection between the scientific data and the music very clear. As the work unfolds, the visual graphs and data will be processed and manipulated by the performers, literally turning the science into art in both the sonic and visual realms.
Goese and Neill began working together in the mid 2000’s on Persephone, a music theater work presented at the BAM Next Wave Festival in 2010 and released as Songs for Persephone 2011. They have performed together at the Whitney Museum, Etnafest, Moogfest, and Lincoln Center among many others. In 2015 the duo began working on a new set of songs based on fractal mathematics; Fathom is a natural extension of this theme. The natural beauty of the Hudson Valley where both artists live was a major source of inspiration for Persephone; Fathom approaches the Hudson River through the lens of the REON system.
Goese and Neill strive to bring humanity and emotional connection to their collaboration, bridging music, art and science through creative technologies and poetry. Fathom will be an important piece for the Hudson River Valley community, bringing together different constituencies through the creative process.
MANITOGA is a work for brass ensemble and electronics commissioned through a NYSCA Individual Artists grant by the Russel Wright Center in Garrison, NY. The piece is for Neill’s self-designed mutantrumpet along with 4 players of Carol Szymanski’s brass “phonemophones,” each of which forms a letter of the alphabet in a font of her design. The horns used are the letters in the word MANITOGA. Neill’s mutantrumpet acts as the controller for processing the other instruments along with the sounds of the natural environment.
Cusp is a song by Goese and Neill from Persephone, a music theater piece performed at BAM Next Wave Festival 2010 with Julia Stiles and Ridge Theater. The music from the production was released as a CD in 2011 titled Songs for Persephone, and this video was produced along with the CD. Cusp is based on samples of Beethoven’s Symphony #1; each song in the piece is based on fragments of a different 19th century piece. This stop motion video is by French artist Christophe Thockler, its approach to time, memory, mystery and nature relates to Fathom.
Start and End Dates
Beacon, New York