There are at least seven “laptop orchestras” around the world, according to the list up at Tom Whitewell’s excellent and obsessive music-tech website, musicthing.blogspot.com. Among them is the Tokyo Laptop Orchestra, which has an international membership and which frequently opts to work with percussionists and singers.
There are eight MP3s of the group’s performances between 2002 and 2006 currently available for free download from its website, laptoporchestra.net, most choice among them perhaps their very first, which is said to feature 20 participants and was recorded in Tokyo on August 18, 2002. Whereas many of their more recent gigs, as represented by those MP3s, take on the chaotic vibrancy of European free improvisation, the August 18 show was an airy affair, far more rarefied than the fact of its 20 contributors might suggest (MP3). Among the musicians are several artists on the Flyrec label, plus American-born musician Robert Duckworth and vocalist Tsujiko Noriko. (The picture above is from the group’s website.)
Though the Tokyo Laptop Orchestra’s last reported performance was almost a year ago, in late November 2006 (at least according to the orchestra’s website), they will be taking part in the February 2008 Japan! culture + hyperculture events at the Kenedy Center in Washington, DC (more info at kennedy-center.org).