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Ben Neill: Starting a Dub War

By Published: November 3, 2009
"Even though electronic music is a more solitary pursuit overall, I try to bring a jazz sensibility to it. Those jazz artists in the jam sessions copped each other's licks and carried them on to the next session—that's how the ideas spread. Now international DJs and producers share and spread new musical ideas, but it's done online as well as in the clubs. Technology offers many new opportunities for collaboration, like linking the mutantrumpet with the LEMUR bots, or live video—basically creating networked performance setups and improvising with them. I'm planning to add a live percussionist to some of my shows, too.

"I always want to have some kind of dialogue going on in my performances. In my 'solo' concerts with my video collaborator, there is a strong sense of dynamic interaction; we're actually improvising a movie and its soundtrack at the same time. The video impacts what I choose to play, and in turn, my playing activates the video. I can definitely see working with larger networked ensembles, especially now that I feel very comfortable with the interactive control of the mutantrumpet.

"Overall, I think the idea of jazz has to keep evolving, and hopefully I'm contributing to that progression."

Selected Discography

Ben Neill, Night Science (Thirsty Ear, 2009)

Rhys Chatham, Die Donnergotter (Table of the Elements, 2006)

DJ Spooky, Riddim Warfare (Outpost, 1998)

DJ Spooky, Necropolis: The Dialog Project (Knitting Factory, 1996)

Ben Neill, Triptycal (Polygram, 1996)

Ben Neill, Green Machine (Astralwerks, 1995)

Ben Neill and David Wojnarowicz, ITSOFOMO (In the Shadow of Forward Motion) (Robi Droli, 1993)

David Behrman, Unforseen Events (XI, 1992)

David Behrman, Leapday Night (Lovely, 1990)

Photo Credits

Page 1: Greta Nicholas

All Others: Courtesy of Ben Neill

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