London Improvisers Orchestra

The Hearing Continues

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Released about a year after Proceedings, The Hearing Continues features a bigger and better incarnation of the London Improvisers Orchestra. Almost half of the line-up has changed and grown from 31 to 38 musicians. Luminaries Evan Parker, Steve Beresford and Philipp Wachsmann are still there, along with Veryan Weston, Louis Moholo, Marcio Mattos, and a host of younger improvisers. Worth of note this time is the presence of three pianists and four complete drum sets. Recorded in one studio session (plus a marimba overdub to allow Orphy Robinson a chance to shine), this 2-CD set features free improvisations (the "Proceeding" pieces), conducted improvisations, and compositions for improvisers. Highlights include both "Proceeding 3" and "Proceeding 4," much stronger than the two corresponding pieces found on the ensemble's first album. Weston's "Concerto for Soft-Loud Key-Box" is a beautiful piece of cynical humor as the orchestra mimics a more traditional version of itself. For "How Can You Delude Yourself?," Alex Ward gave the orchestra two simple but counter-effective directives: whenever nothing is played, you must play something immediately; whenever more than two other musicians than yourself are playing, you must stop. The resulting piece evolves from timid staccatos to orchestral punches -- very entertaining. The same comment applies to David Leahy's "Prior to Freedom," where at one point all musicians are asked to play whatever they were playing before turning to the free improv scebe. The resulting cacophony of Beethoven, rock, jazz standards, and miscellaneous bits is simply hilarious. The Hearing Continues documents a much stronger ensemble, fully matured, who still follows the "laboratory" concept but with better results. This album is simply one of the best examples of a creative orchestra and presents (with Keith Tippett's Centipede) one of the highest talent-per-cubic-feet ratio in history.

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