Performance artist Rachel Mason delivers album/film project ‘The Lives of Hamilton Fish’

(Photo by Kerwin Williams)

(Photo by Kerwin Williams)

‘The Lives of Hamilton Fish’
Rachel Mason (self-released)
3 stars out of 5

“The Lives of Hamilton Fish” has been a labor of love for performance artist Rachel Mason for more than a decade. While researching serial killer Hamilton Fish in 2004, she discovered that he and another man named Hamilton Fish — this one a respected politician in upstate New York — died one day apart in 1936. The Peekskill Evening Star even featured separate articles about their deaths on its Jan. 16, 1936 front page.

Rachel Mason CDMason took the coincidence and ran with it, crafting an original album and film entitled “The Lives of Hamilton Fish.” Mason performs the 21-part song cycle against the backdrop of the film she wrote, produced and directed. While a few actors fill major roles in the 70-minute production there is no dialogue, just Mason’s original tunes.

I’m guessing that as a completely immersive experience — both film and album — “The Lives of Hamilton Fish” is quite compelling. Without the visual element, however, the soundtrack album is good but not quite great. There are some fantastic tunes to be found here — “Two Strangers,” “Wild Fish,” “Nightmare,” “My Darkest Night,” “Rebel Angels” — and those gems are enough to have me interested in seeing the film. (Jeffrey Sisk)

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