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Little Princess Orchestra - JPop.com
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Little Princess Orchestra

Little Princess Orchestra

Little Princess Orchestra


The Little Princess Orchestra was an improvising collective formed in 2003 from various faces in the North London free improv scene and instigated by Hugo Danino. The group met and recorded a series of extended jams at Tom Goldsmith's recording studio in Scarborough Road (the results of which were eventually released as the posthumous debut, Love Songs, in 2006), before seeking gigs. After one glorious, shambolic performance at the Octopad in Stoke Newington Read more on Last.fm
The Little Princess Orchestra was an improvising collective formed in 2003 from various faces in the North London free improv scene and instigated by Hugo Danino. The group met and recorded a series of extended jams at Tom Goldsmith's recording studio in Scarborough Road (the results of which were eventually released as the posthumous debut, Love Songs, in 2006), before seeking gigs. After one glorious, shambolic performance at the Octopad in Stoke Newington, Hugo's desire for more gigs led to the construction of a studio-cum-performance space in Hackney. The venue's unique sound system, in which the PA was provided by a series of vintage hi-fi amps and approximately fifty speakers, coupled with the stage's excessive monitoring, prompted the Man From Uranus to christen it "Hugo's Speaker Palace". Regular free concerts ensued, with a revolving cast of members including Giles Narang and Horton Jupiter (They Came From the Stars I Saw Them), Justin Paton (Now), Shintaro Taketani, Dan Hayhurst (Sculpture), Stuart Fisher (Genghis Attenborough), Raymond Shine (Mantouch), Sam Amant, and various luminaries from the area's glittering kraut and rock scenes. Occasional flashes of brilliance were evident in the storms of exploratory frustration, at once amusing, intriguing and baffling the trickle of punters that came through the door.

A spine of steady participants emerged, comprising the punk-jazz drumming of Jim Lebaigue, Morris English's chugging dissonant guitar and Nicole Nagel's floating, forceful bass, fronted by Carmel Morrissey and Hugo. The band really began to hit its stride in mid-2004, performing a series of explosive sets with now-regular member Man From Uranus. Still totally improvising, the gigs would most often consist of stream-of-consciousness outpourings from the front-couple, laced with ironic references to improvising technique, drama school practice and Freudian theory - delivered with a sardonic turn of phrase and betraying years of barely-disguised bitterness. Things came to a head late in 2004 when, in Hugo's words, "the truth of the group's deeply co-dependant musicality proved impossible to square with its anti-group conception". MFU left the group in mysterious circumstances; triumphant performances continued with a more fluid line-up, baffling a whole new generation of unwitting youngsters with a support slot for Les Georges Leningrad - a high-water mark for the Speaker Palace as a rock venue. LPO's brief existence culminated in April 2005 in a performance with the Stumrebi Georgian choir at a vast Clapton squat - followed by a recording session after the engineer forgot to press record. The mournful air in the choir's modal harmonies seemed to capture the essence of the band's sapping energy: the result is a compelling, insular piece, full of wistful longing for the promise of what could have been...

The group called it a day that evening in the pub. N.B. This is only one side of the story. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..

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