Christine Duncan leads the most unlikely ensemble devoted to collective improvisation, Toronto’s fifty-one-voice Element Choir. The choir’s improvisation is strongly shaped by Duncan’s ongoing “conduction.” In performance, members respond to a series of signals and gestures with everything from sustained tones and evolving drones through unintelligible massed conversation to sudden dramatic “whooshes” of sound. These and other effects are sometimes used sparsely, at other times accumulating in dense and fascinating textures. The initial impact is both technical and ceremonial: one is as struck by the processes that could achieve this kind of improvised order as by the transcendent inevitability of its unfolding. The music is further shaped by the central role granted improvising instrumentalists, most prominently trumpeter Jim Lewis and organist Eric Robertson, but also bassist Andrew Downing, drummer Jean Martin, and violinist Jesse Zubot. The ecclesiastical tone—it was recorded in a church—is further enhanced by Robertson’s Messiaen-like improvisations, and the cumulative impact is intensely reflective. At its best, as on Funhouse, it takes on a compelling grandeur, a mingling of diverse elements in expansive space, akin to Stockhausen’s Momente and the film music of Nino Rota. It’s an ambitious and well-realized project.