Dream pop vocalist Mimi Goese and composer/mutantrumpeter Ben Neill create an otherwordly blend of sensual lyricism and technology in their musical collaboration. Most recently they 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.
Mimi Goese is known as the lead singer/co-songwriter of Hugo Largo, the critically acclaimed minimalist punk/pop group who released two albums on Brian Eno’s Opal label in the ’80s. After touring with musician/producer Hector Zazou and co-writing/singing on the Moby album Everything is Wrong, Goese’s solo album Soak was released by Luaka Bop, David Byrne’s label.
Ben Neill is a composer, performer, producer, and inventor of the mutantrumpet, a hybrid electro-acoustic instrument. Ten CDs of his music have been released on labels including Universal/Verve, Astralwerks, Thirsty Ear, and Six Degrees. His most recent recording Horizonal was released in 2015 on Audiokult Recordings, Vienna. The Demo, his large-scale electronic opera with Mikel Rouse, was premiered at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall in 2015. Neill is also currently leading performances of works by minimalist guru La Monte Young in the US and Europe.
PERSEPHONE at BAM – PRESS QUOTES
“The hypnotic score by Ben Neill and Mimi Goese is a romantic swell of symphonic brass and percussion that rises and falls like an unstoppable tidal wave.” Variety
“Abstract, hexagonal, world-beat songs…If Baz Lurhmann and Laurie Anderson got stoned listening to late-night college-radio electro-pop, Persephone is what they’d hallucinate.”
“At its bewitching best the production evokes a French neoclassical painting that has magically bloomed into three dimensions…shimmery electro-pop songs sung by Ms. Goese in a throaty voice that recalls Kate Bush and a number of other alt-radio goddesses.” NY Times
“A multimedia musical extrav-o-rama…like Moulin Rouge with a soundtrack by Cocteau Twins or Dead Can Dance.” Culturebot
“A raucous orchestra of romantic 19th-century-born instruments swells and deflates…symphonic sounds with rock and trip-hop elements.” NY Press
MIMI GOESE – PRESS QUOTES
“Mimi Goese’s ethereal singing– long, sweeping notes that glide and dive with abandon, set in a spare instrumental frame– is so sensual that the words and melodies very nearly evaporate; the result is an eloquent sonic ballet.” Rolling Stone
“Her long arms carve slowly through the air with the elegance of a Japanese dancer. Her eyes widen, suggesting the possibility of both innocence and lunacy. Then she sings, quickly shifting from a whisper to a scream. Such mannerisms lend an unforgettable stage presence to Mimi Goese.” –Michael Small People Magazine
“Mimi Goese sang odd leaping melodies with the wide eyed expression of a little girl sharing secrets… she has costumes and movements for every song– floppy arms, slowly spinning or crouching on a stool and swaying like an autistic child.”
— Jon Pareles The New York Times
“Her ability to carry a serpentine melody with little or no instrumental assistance, combined with her vocabulary of swoops screeches and sighs suggests a vast sensual knowingness behind her smirk.” –Barry Walters The Village Voice
“Hers is a quite incredible voice that simultaneously suggests desire, fear, delight and anger.”
–Keith Cameron Sounds (UK)
“Mimi’s voice conjures up a long plummet through “white light” and space. It’s like a parachutist
still in free fall, who seems briefly weightless and adrift in an ocean of air.”
–Paul Oldfield Melody Maker (UK)
“Mimi Goese takes a WHOLE LOT of chances in what she does– that high, breathy singing… and being a gregarious, kooky loudmouth, not the ephemeral waif one would associate with this kind of stuff.” LA Weekly
BEN NEILL – PRESS QUOTES
“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
“Ben Neill is using a schizophrenic trumpet to create art music for the people.” Wired Magazine
“Neill’s astonishing mutantrumpet blends brass and computer with wit, beauty and solid
musicianship.” Village Voice
“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.” Allmusic.com
“9 out of 10 rating…Ben Neill is a mad scientist, and he has discovered the formula that breaks musical barriers.” Mixmag
“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
“Masterfully blurs the lines between electronic dance music and jazz sounds.” Billboard
“If he were around today, Miles would unequivocally be picking up on what Ben Neill is laying down.”
All About Jazz
I am listing their show at the Towne Crier in Beacon on our entertainment Calendar and would like to know the proper way to pronounce Mim’s last name. Any help? Thanks
Sorry for the slow reply…Mimi’s name is pronounced “Gay’ zee” – rhymes with “hazy”.
Thanks for your interest, Ben Neill
I “liberated” your song “Oberon” for my home video. Care to see?:
Hope to attend Towne Crier show!