Rachel Mason will officially go down in history as making the first rock opera to catch my undivided attention since 2000’s The Transfused. (Or if it counts, that one musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) The multimedia artist recently released The Lives of Hamilton Fish, an album + film about a serial killer and a celebrated Westchester politician who shared the same name and died one day apart, in January 1936.
Trivia: The less likable of the two Fish, on account of all the killing and eating of children he did, changed his name from Hamilton to Albert mid-life and is the OG, actual boogeyman. Maybe THIS STORY will ring a bell.
That story is horrific, but Mason’s twist on the telling of it is dramatically addictive. Here is the video for “Nightmare” off The Lives of Hamilton Fish:
Since the very base premise of the album + film revolves around a coincidence, we asked Rachel to describe the most memorable coincidence she has personally encountered. Here’s what she said:
“I once assumed a coincidence that wasn’t actually there–I had made a sculpture called “Kissing President Bush” and a day after I put it into an exhibition, I was on the subway and someone was reading the newspaper and it was open to the Art Section where I saw printed on the entire half of the top section of the page an image of it printed full bleed and immediately I thought, “Wow, what are the chances that someone could have made my exact same sculpture and that it would be featured in the news right as my show is up…” and it was only until a friend called to tell me to get the paper that I realized it wasn’t just some freak coincidence, but it was my work. I guess maybe I’m always looking for coincidences!”
Coincidentally, two of my favorite things in life are: scandals, and creepy people. So, same. Full-circle wheelhouse material.
I’m not the only one who has gotten caught up in the music and high drama of Hamilton Fish, the project has garnered press from Vice, New York Times, The New Yorker, and many many others. Just another fantastically creepy feather in Mason’s cap to round off the already celebrated ten full-length albums she’s previously released.
You can learn more about Rachel and The Lives of Hamilton Fish HERE. You should also seriously consider going to her upcoming screening at Anthology Film Archives on July 21 and performance at Joe’s Pub on July 26. Full info on that HERE.
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