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Little Princess Orchestra – Oedipal Complexities

Not The Sixties

Little Princess Orchestra – Oedipal ComplexitiesImprovised music is sometimes more interesting in principle than practice, which so often involves accomplished musicians demonstrating consummate skill or immaculate taste (but rarely both at the same time). The Little Princess Orchestra happily have no truck with such nonsense, approaching communal music creation with the same primal inquisitiveness that Neanderthals must have possessed when they first discovered the joy in banging two stones together.

The music for the most part is brutal and angular, clumsily impolite – imagine playing the first This Heat album to a pack of belligerent drug-addled sociopaths and asking them to recreate it… wearing boxing gloves… The resulting racket, simultaneously throwaway and over-reaching, has an anarchic spontaneity that could have found a home on the Fuck Off label back in 1979. Mark Perry’s post-ATV improv group The Good Missionaries also hinted at this direction, but always seemed reluctant to really cut loose with such abandon.

Vocals often seem an after-thought in improv, but here dual vocalists Hugo Danino and Carmel Morrissey lead from the front, spurting out streams of consciousness like two hyperactive toddlers vying for mummy’s attention. At times their verbal bickering brings to mind the much-missed Prolapse who used a similar approach to instill their live shows with an almost unbearable tension and sense of discomfort. Oedipal Complexities comes as a double CD with minimal information, but an online search reveals that disc one is the album proper, while the second disc is a collection of remixes of the same material by associates of the group. In a way, the remix disc works even better than the actual album, the already fractured music chopped up and juxtaposed even further for added disorientation, splinters of sound recurring periodically to instil a nightmarish sense of déjà vu.

It would seem, again from the group’s website, that all of these recordings originate in 2003/4 and that the orchestra (which featured upwards of 20 members) is no longer operational. Having never had the opportunity to catch them live, I can’t say whether this captivating relic is the result of exceptional telepathic interplay or of exceptionally judicial editing… I don’t suppose it really matters now, does it?

-Alan Holmes-

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