Hicham Bensassi (born 27 December 1981), known by various pseudonyms including Ben River, Rootzu, the Five Hands Gang, the Moonlight Convention and others is a British songwriter, rap poet, composer and music producer whose work includes music on the satirical BBC animated series Monkey Dust in 2003, remixes including Howard Marks and The Mystery School Ensemble in 2005, also most recently a collaboration with playwright, publisher and spoken word artist Lee Harris released on Genepool/Universal Music Group in 2009 the album Angel Headed Hip Hop. The Portobello Film Festival described him as "brought up in Ladbroke Grove, West London and... on a weird and wonderful musical journey ever since, through folk tinged broken beat, Experimental Hip hop, electronica and anywhere in-between".
Aside from vocal, and lyrical duties, Ben River's musical contributions to projects he has been involved with has included Guitar, both acoustic and electric. Also Bass guitar and Piano/Synths. He also incorporates many electronic elements to his work. programming beats and manipulating samples.
The song "Carried Away" was included on the film Gold Fish Bowl, which was screened at the Portobello Film Festival 2010. An acoustic version of the song Sheffield/Tunis and remixes of the song Carried away were included on the podcast series on New Antique Records. He is working on a new untitled album with various musicians.
The Moonlight Convention:
The Moonlight Convention is an experimental music collective founded in 2009.
Angel Headed Hip Hop:
The first meeting took place during the time of an event "Terra Firma" where Lee Harris and Ben River had both performed separately. A few years later Hicham invited Lee to record something for a project he was working on and quite organically the album Angel Headed Hip Hop (Album) was born. They brought in special Guests such as writer Brian Barritt, rapper JC001 and Hicham wrote the music, performed vocally on four of the album's songs and remixed the song "Three men in a boat with Howard Marks originally released on the previous album "30 Years of Counter Culture" The album was released in 2009 on Genepool/Universal Music Group.
The album has been described by Upsetter Magazine as "the 21st century equivalent of the early experiments with beat poetry and improvised Jazz" and the K&C Daily Times said "a heady mix of both spoken word poetry and fractured samples. The album is recontextualising the beat poets into the modern age".