Rituals for Orchestra Entropy

RITUALS is an extended work for ten improvisers presented on two hand drawn panels. This language score consists of various open notations, graphics plus two trio sub-pieces titled skelf (electric guitar, double bass and drums) and antiphon (violin, viola and double bass) for the performers to decipher. The intention is to sculpt the improvisations so that the music develops and transforms along an ancient elemental journey, with the composer not as a totalitarian figure of authority, instead giving the performers the guidance, the licence to explore and discover who they are within it.

Orchestra Entropy is the large ensemble edition of Ensemble Entropy ft. Matt London (tenor saxophone, composer), Georgia Cooke (alto flute), Tom Ward (bass clarinet), Seb Silas (baritone saxophone), Sarah Gail Brand (trombone), Rebecca Raimondi (violin), Benedict Taylor (viola), Seth Bennett (double bass), Moss Freed (electric guitar) & Mark Sanders (drums).

RITUALS was shortlisted for a 2018 BASCA British Composer Award in the Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble Category. 

Discus Music // Bandcamp

Rituals (Discus 85; UK) Featuring: Matt London, Georgia Cooke, Tom Ward & Seb Silas on reeds, Sarah Gail Brand on trombone, Rebecca Raimondi & Benedict Taylor on strings, Moss Freed on electric guitar, Seth Bennett on double bass and Mark Sanders on drums. An extended work composed & directed by Matt London for 10 improvisers inspired by two hand drawn panels. The only names I recognize here are: Gail Brand (who played at DMG once), Benedict Taylor (whose trio I once reviewed) and Mark Sanders (drum master for Evan Parker, Paul Dunmall & Jah Wobble). There are two sub-trios here (guitar/a.bass/drums & violin/viola/dbass) who are sub-directed as well. Recorded November 11, 2018 at Jerwood Hall, LSO in London. Although this music seems free at times, there is some direction going on. Seven of the nine pieces here each feature solos, a duo or trios, all of which are well-connected so that it sounds as if there are some tight or written or carefully crafted segments with intricate current-like movements. The two pieces which don’t feature solos, duo or trios sound like Penderecki/Xenakis-like sonic fragments floating together. There are some extremely quiet sections which are also well-handled plus this disc is cleanly, warmly recorded. Although the personnel and instrumentation changes on each piece, this entire disc flows as though it is a suite, the overall vibe is continuous. When the full 10 piece unit enters on two pieces, things open up and get more expansive and intense. Considering that the title of this disc is ‘Rituals’, it brings to mind the way that creative music making and serious listening are ritualistic from the inside and outside view of things. Since the pandemic forces most folks inside 10 months ago (March or 2020), the ritual of going to live gigs has dried up and gone on line. So, we end up doing or creating our own rituals indoors, with fewer artists interacting live, it is a more private ritual/experience. I really do miss live gigs but inspired records like this sure do help as sonic medicine. — Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery 


Matt London’s Orchestra Entropy perform an extended work for improvising ensemble, based on two hand-drawn panels which provide indeterminate notations, graphical cues and two interpolated trio pieces, “skelf” for guitar, bass, drums, and “antiphon” for violin, viola, double bass. 

Entropy is a dangerous metaphor, often misunderstood, certainly overused and not in any way the most lasting impression of this music, which has a quietly determined trajectory, like stages in a pilgrimage or holy office, but with the apparent purpose of allowing each player to find her/his own voice within the collective. Sarah Gail Brand is masterful at this. Every improvisation she puts out conveys a sense of highly collected and purposive playing, but with a freedom that few of her male colleagues ever reach. 

Strings are once again a regular and unsurprising feature of improvising groups, in Britain as elsewhere, and Rebecca Raimondi, Benedict Taylor and Seth Bennett have discovered ways of playing that suggest technical mastery but don’t any longer sound like orchestral players slumming. Leader Matt London isn’t widely known as a saxophonist, but has a commanding voice that cuts through when it needs to. 

The Discus catalogue is now large and incredibly varied. This is one of its finest moments. – Brian Morton, JAZZ JOURNAL