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C2 Rosie_twirling_hepcats_00.mp3

Twirling Hepcats by Popular Organ Fun Party. Rosie Langabeer - Baldwin electric organ Neil Feather - vibrowheel

Idiosyncrophilia

Idiosyncrophilia is a composition by Rosie Langabeer for Neil Feather's instruments and chamber orchestra. This video is a work in progress performed by the Arcana New Music Ensemble in Philadelphia. The piece will be played in Wellington NZ in July of 2020 by the Stroma Ensemble. It was supported by Bowerbird and Creative New Zealand

B1 rupert_C_00.mp3

Ideas Come from the Ocean Duet from Instrumentory double LP box set. Rupert Wondolowski - vocals Neil Feather - cocolina (invented string instrument)

Neil Feather instrument sampler

Brief assortment of experimental musical instruments by Neil Feather

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About Neil

Baltimore City

Neil Feather's picture
Sound Mechanic Neil Feather has been creating radical and unusual musical instruments since 1970 and is increasingly known outside of Baltimore as one of the most original musical thinkers of his day. His instruments each embody uniquely clever acoustic and engineering principles, and are visually arresting. The music he plays on the instruments is equally original, embodying new principles and resulting in a nearly alien idiom of music. When he was a young teen in western Pennsylvania, Feather... more

INSTRUMENTORY

Instrumentory is Double LP of 10 duos with Neil Feather. My intent was to use a wide variety of instruments and explore short-form improvised duets. Heard on this album are 11 instruments invented by Neil Feather and 11 instruments of varying conventionality. The double LP contain a color photo booklet of Neil Feather's instruments,( The form was inspired by Harry Partch's Delusion of The Fury. That record had the most impact to my life of any other music.)

Sides A and B are duets recorded at the Red Room in three days of October 2018

Side C features Rosie Langabeer on Fun Machine (1973 Baldwin electric organ), prepared piano, and Wurlitzer theater organ. Recorded 2017-19

Side D is mostley THUS, a long-term collaboration with John Berndt using a wide variety of invented instruments. recorded1996-2006.

The last track is with Jason Willet in his basement in 2014

This project is partially funded by New Music USA and will be released on Ehse Records.

The collaborators are Rosie Langabeer, Eric Franklin, John Berndt, Rupert Wondelowski, Susan Alcorn, Sam Burt, Rose Hammer Burt, Kristan Toedtman, Stewart Mostofsky, Nicole Mazarakis and Jason Willett,

  • Willet Feather Magnapooter! by Neil Feather

    Neil Feather- magnapooter, Jason Willet- turntable, cocoquantus
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    Neil Feather and John Berndt
    Neil Feather and John Berndt: Former Guitars are an invention of Neil Feather
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    Elephantitans
    Elephantitans is Neil Feather and Eric Franklin
  • !! Instrumentory cover.jpg

     experimental musical instruments, Neil Feather, instrumentory
    Instrumentory cover photo. My studio full of instruments and sound sculptures. An instrumentory is a place where instruments are kept as an armory is a place where arms are kept. photo by Rosie Langabeer 2019
  • A1 kristen_A_00.mp3

    Kristen Toedman- vocals . Neil Feather -cocolina (invented instrument)

Idiosyncrophilia

Rosie Langabeer is developing a composition for three of my instruments and chamber orchestra. The Arcana New Music Ensemble
has performed the work in progress. The piece will be performed by the Stroma Ensemble in Wellington NZ in 2020. Langabeer is a frequent collaborator and developing methods of integrating ny instruments in a classical setting. My instruments should have a life beyond my own performance so I am encouraging composers to use my instruments.

  • Idiosyncrophilia

    Idiosyncrophilia is a composition by Rosie Langabeer for Neil Feather's instruments and chamber orchestra. This video is a work in progress performed by the Arcana New Music Ensemble in Philadelphia. The piece will be played in Wellington NZ in July of 2020 by the Stroma Ensemble. It was supported by Bowerbird and Creative New Zealand
  • [email protected] wiggler_2156 (1).jpg

     experimental musical instruments, Neil Feather
    This new wiggler is an instrument with 4 parallel horizontal strings. Bars are woven in the strings and rocked in complex patterns. This new wiggler is design to stand up to airline handling.

Popular Organ Fun Party

The Organ Project.
This is collaboration with Rosie Langabeer to compose music for my instruments and the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ Wurlitzer in Greek Hall. This project happens in the Wanamaker (Macy’s) Building in Philadelphia. The Wanamaker Organ is a different organ in the same building and is the largest pipe organ in the world. We have also played on the Dickenson Theater Organ in Wilmington, Delaware, the largest working theater organ in the world. We hope to play other of the few remaining theater organs across the country.

Theater organs are pipe organs with all the bells and whistles (literally) needed to accompany silent movies. A century ago, before recording technology, theater organs provided most of the music that was available. These instruments have thousands of pipes and are substantial parts of the buildings that house them.

The instruments that I play with the Wurlitzer are the Wiggler, Melocycle, Vibrowheels and Magnapooter. Another combination of Popular Organ Fun Party uses a Baldwin Overture electric organ with a Fun Machine. This feature is a polyrhythmic drum and bass machine that was pretty fancy for 1973. Rosie Langabeer plays this organ while I play vibrowheel. The regularity of the Fun Machine contrasts nicely with the constant speed changes of the free-spinning vibrowheel.

The vibrowheel generates tones by small motors moving past electromagnetic pickups not unlike the original Hammond electric organ's use of a tone wheel. The vintage beats help to create strange and funky music

Sound Mechanic Film

Sound Mechanic is film (in progress) by Skizz Cyzyk about Neil Feather. We have been collaborating for the last year to document my performances and opininons. Skizz' latest film is called Icepick to the Moon and is about the legendary Fred Lane.

  • https://vimeo.com/370110010

    SOUND MECHANIC will be a feature-length documentary about artist/musician/performer/sound mechanic Neil Feather. This video is an example of some of the footage shot for the project so far. WORK IN PROGRESS by Skizz Cyzyk

Journey Through the Cosmos

Journey Through the Cosmos is a large installation of kinetic sound sculptures that portrays the "Cosmos". Tilted turntables with rolling balls are inside-out models of planetary motion. There are metaphorical space vehicles that wiggle and bounce and make sound. Visitors pedal a machine made from a stationary bike to activate a percussion orchestra that is positioned throughout the gallery. A smaller version was installed at the Arlington Arts Center in the summer of 2017. This project was shown at the Creative Alliance (Baltimore) in May 2018

  • A JOURNEY THROUGH THE COSMOS

    A Journey through the Cosmos by Neil Feather at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore MD 2018. A montage of “planetary” elements of the Cosmos installation conceived as an ever changing composition.
  • PYGMALION '''

    Pygmalion: 2017 (w.4’ x d.3’ h.66") motorized sculpture: plastic horse, 16mm movie projector, motors, springs, coconut shells, etc.
  • Pilot 1

    Pilot 1 2016 (w. 48” x d. 38” x h. 91”) kinetic sound sculpture: neck massager, duck pin bowling ball, spring, string, pickups, amplifier, pipe, pedestal
  • !TWIN PLANETS and HYPNO VORTEX

    Red Planet: bowl, biased ball, motor, timer. Metal Planet: cymbal, ball magnet, motor, timer. Hypnovortex: square spring fruit basket, 1.5rpm motor, magnet, ping pong ball, mirror, wood
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     Journey Through the Cosmos at Creative Alliance
    Wide shot of Journey Through the Cosmos at Creative Alliance
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     Journey Through the Cosmos at Creative Alliance
    A Journey Through the Cosmos at Creative Alliance 2018
  • !Futura CA.jpg

    The Futura Percussion Engine
    The Futura Percussion Engine acted as the main "space vessel" within A Journey Through the Cosmos. Visitors pedaled the modified stationary cycle to drive a 10 piece percussion orchestra. (see Futura 1860 project)
  • !Wooden Planet.jpg

    Wooden Planet
    Wooden Planet- Rotating tilted bowl make two different balls dance around each other.

FUTURA 1860

The Futura 1860 is a redesign of the percussion engine used in" A Journey through the Cosmos". The 10 speakers are combined in a rolling unit to travel in the Arlington Art Truck. We did 10 activations in the summer of 2019 and will do more in child focused events.

Participants activate the sculpture by cranking a bicycle wheel by hand, and see how the connections from the wheel sends energy from the batteries to the sounding elements on the two rolling sets of modified speakers in rhythmic pulses, all controlled by the participator. Through this process, the participant enjoys the sculpture, but also learns about basic electricity through switches, batteries and acoustics -- technology developed in the 1800’s.

Mauricio Kagel's Zwei Mann Orchester

I was delighted be a designer/builder on a 6-person team to create an iteration of Zwei Mann Orchester, a composition/installation wherein 2 performers sit in two chairs and play over 100 instruments in 45 minutes. Bowerbird presents (Philadelphia, PA) produced this rare performance of this 1970 composition. The team was comprised of Andy Theirauf, Ashley Tini, Dustin Hurt, Scott Kip, Yona Davidson and myself. It was funded by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage and presented at the Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University. An exhibit of my instruments augmented the installation.
This project will have another iteration in 2020.

  • Bowerbird presents Mauricio Kagel's "Zwei Mann Orchester"

    Bowerbird presents Mauricio Kagel's Zwei Mann Orchester
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    Installation of Maurico Kagel's Zwei Mann Orchester by Bowerbird Presents Philadelphia 2018
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    Installation of Maurico Kagel's Zwei Mann Orchester by Bowerbird Presents Philadelphia 2018 with Ashley Tini, Andy Thierauf and Yona Davidson
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    Installation of Maurico Kagel's Zwei Mann Orchester by Bowerbird Presents Philadelphia 2018
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    Installation of Maurico Kagel's Zwei Mann Orchester by Bowerbird Presents, Philadelphia 2018
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    Installation of Maurico Kagel's Zwei Mann Orchester by Bowerbird Presents Philadelphia 2018
  • !!zmo_E2500.jpg

    Installation of Maurico Kagel's Zwei Mann Orchester by Bowerbird Presents Philadelphia 2018

MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

Experimental musical instruments have been the core of my work since I first heard Harry Partch's orchestra. My academic background is ceramics where I gained respect for utility. The instruments are engineered to be versatile, reliable, portable and sonically open-ended.

Instrument design is forged onstage. Musical usability is nurtured. New instruments are meant to create new sounds and new musical forms. The instruments develop in a cycle of invention, experimentation, practice, performance and composition.

There are about 10 different "families" grouped by which principles of physics are being explored. Rotary and pendular motion, electomagnetic fields, long phase relationships and unpredictability are prominant elements in my work.

My goal now is for more composers and musicians to use my instruments. Playing shows and composing for groups is way to reach the music community.

  • Neil Feather instrument sampler

    Brief assortment of experimental musical instruments by Neil Feather
  • Melocipede

    Mechanical electric musical instrument 14 strings, 8 motors, 4pickups, i bicycle, i billiard ball in unit that can play a melody or parts thereof backwards and forwards
  • The Bachelor

    Neil Feather Interview/demonstration of the Bachelor, one of many Former Guitars. This was posted adjunct to Sound American Music Journal found at http://soundamerican.org/neil-feather
  • Neil Feather Wiggler 720

    Live at the Red Room Baltimore MD 2018
  • NONDO 2015

    The Nondo is a sheet steel string instrument with a unique configuration.
  • !vegas.jpg

    The Vegas-
    The Vegas- former guitar, rotozither and vibrowheel in one. Included in "Art or Sound" exhibit in 2014 Venice Biennale.

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Neil's Curated Collection

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