With the orchestra’s latest release and others, it’s more about the sum of the individualistic parts that round out the base musical concepts. This album features a venerable, who’s who of the British free-improv scene such as saxophonists Evan Parker, John Butcher, bassist Simon H. Fell and many others. Recorded live at a London venue, the artists’ institute colorific musical scenarios, in a manner unlike the traditional jazz or symphonic, orchestral implementations. Consequently, the element of surprise stands as an inherent attribute throughout, where various artists conduct the orchestra on a per track basis. On "Concerto for (trombonist) Paul Rutherford" - loosely conducted by Steve Beresford - the listener will notice booming accents, contrapuntal statements by the strings section and polytonal textures. Here, Rutherford weaves in and around his band-mates, via a sequence of thorny lines, interspersed with odd harmonic maneuvers and more. Other highlights include, a delightful percussion trio improvisation by Tony Marsh, Louis Moholo, and Mark Sanders titled "Mamosa."
One of the entertaining aspects of this production is rooted within the listener’s ability to hone in on certain sections of the orchestra. Sort of a mind-bending aural experience, strangely enhanced by a smattering of pre-recorded sounds, blithe vocals and use of mobile phones. No doubt, the creative process includes subtle stabs at humor to coincide with the interrelationships of the soloists’ respective inventions. It’s all integrated into a rather cohesive package. (Recommended.... )