IE (For Large Ensemble) is the follow-up to Scott Rosenberg's well-received 1996 CD Are. The first release on the Chicago label Barely Auditable, IE is a striking suite written for a 27-piece ensemble. Musicians were recruited in the San Francisco Bay Area and include vocalist Pamela Z, percussionist Gino Robair, and bassist Morgan Guberman. The ensemble includes a big string section (ten pieces plus guitar), a clarinet section (five), brass (four), accordion, voice (two), and percussion (three). The four movements vary in length (from four to 27 minutes) and the two middle ones are untitled. "Hums" is a slowly evolving, static yet organic meditative piece strongly reminiscent of the work of Austrian composer Klaus Lang. This is also the only track on which Rosenberg performs as a musician. The second movement begins with waves of orchestral sounds crashing into the listener's ears and evolves into a dense contemporary piece calling for Partch-like structures and Zorn-like surprises, dominated by Pamela Z's voice. The third movement is a short zany musical cartoon, a conducted improvisation packed with vitality. "Requiescence" brings things back to something quieter. IE requires a few attentive listens in order to reveal all it has to offer, but people interested in compositions for improvisers will not be disappointed.
AllMusic Review by François Couture