On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG

2

PEK tweak of a Raffi Photo

Review:

Leap of Faith Orchestra performs

Supernovae by PEK

by Karl  Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com

Review  by Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery


AXIOMS With PEK / JANE / ALBEY ONBASS - Manifestations (Evil Clown 9203; USA) Featuring Jane on spoken word, PEK on alto & bass saxes, clarinets, daxophone, gongs, bells, etc and Albey Onbass on electric upright bass. Recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters on December 13, 2018. Head honcho for Leap of Faith, Dave PEK, leads a half dozen or so offshoot projects like Metal Chaos, Turbulence or String Theory. The latest offshoot is called Axioms which is a mere trio with none of the regular members aside from PEK, and which features  the spoken words of Jane (no last name) and Albey Onbass on bass. Could this be Albey Balgochian and his partner Jane ZenBeatz, both of whom worked with Cecil Taylor? The music here has a mysterious, eerie, drifting vibe with a subtle, selective amount of reverb added like seasoning. PEK takes his time on each instrument, while Albey adds another layer, spinning a web and Jane also takes her time, quietly adding her poetry in soft spurts.       

Along with the natural form provided by the poetry, Manifestations benefits from the interaction of a large number of instrument changes by myself, producing a steady progression through a wide variety of sonorities.

The YouTube video contains about an extra minute at the beginning with Albey playing the heavy metal instruments in the kitchen... He took Joel and myself by surprise, and those sounds did not make the master tape...

PEK 16 December 2018

PEK tweak of a Raffi Photo

PEK tweak of a Raffi Photo

Axioms - Manifestations

Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA - 13 December 2018

Composer and multi-instrumentalist, PEK, set his sights on something bigger with the Leap of Faith Orchestra's Supernovae. The previous incarnation of the LOFO expands from the fifteen musicians on The Expanding Universe (Evil Clown, 2016) to twenty-one players on this new outing. Another noteworthy element of this project is PEK's use of Frame Notation where the score is seen in written descriptions and straight-forward symbols within Duration Bars. The system provides the musicians with immediate understanding of their own parts and the higher-level arrangement of the music. 

Supernovae consists of a single track composition running just under eighty minutes. The digital download includes a bonus track. Though the extended piece is not broken out by formal movements, there are clear delineations within the score. PEK's ensemble—not surprisingly—includes enough non-traditional and weird instruments to compete with a Dr. Seuss orchestra. Though they are not playing in a vacuum, that group of instruments dominates the first ten minutes before strings and reeds make themselves more clearly heard. Forty-five minutes in, we have the first case of prolonged melody, darker and more subdued than the overall tone of the first half. 

Supernovae gives way to free improvisation overlaying the melody. Eventually the piece introduces a brilliant percussion passage before it reintroduces the non-traditional music elements, but here in a more refined manner. As with all of PEK's compositions, there is—behind the scenes—a painstaking amount of organization that is not always evident in the listening. That is part of the beauty of this album; the non-traditional approach to instrumentation and the lack of adherence to Western structure continue to make the various iterations of Leap of Faith consistently interesting. And interesting look at the written score can be viewed at http://www.evilclown.rocks/lofo-supernovae-score.html.

YouTube

(continuous full set

4 camera mix)

Liner Notes by PEK
Albey onBass recently arrived on the Boston improvisation scene with Jane SpokenWord after a lengthy stay in New Orleans and New York. They often perform together as a duet. Albey has been active at Evil Clown playing with 4 of the ensembles just in the 5 months since July this year. We were discussing doing a duet session at Evil Clown Headquarters and it occurred to us to do it with Jane...

This is a brand new Evil Clown Ensemble which I have decided to call Axioms, which to me is an apt name for a band which features words - something that most Evil Clown sessions do not.

There are two definitions:
1) a statement or proposition that is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true
2) a statement or proposition on which an abstractly defined structure is based (mathematics)

These two meanings bridge the distance between discussion of truths and abstract musical structures.

IMHO this is a profound opening set – Jane’s spoken word delivery is brilliant, and it makes me wonder why we do not see more poetry in modern improvisation. It seems like an obvious way to engage audience with the words which are by their nature more concrete than the abstractions presented by purely instrumental improvisations. Jane has a large body of poems that she has fully memorized, allowing her the flexibility and rapid decision making which is the main stay of pure improvisation. She uses the words from the poems along with poetic articulation as her improvised expression.

Squidco blurb:
Boston's Evil Clown collective led by reedist/multi-instrumentalist David Peck introduces a new ensemble, Axioms, a quartet with Peck, Jane, Alby onBass, and Joel Simches, in a mammoth work of mysterious intent and rich sonorities, orchestrated with reeds, brass, daxophones, percussion, bells and chimes, electric bass, keys, spoken word, and real-time signal processing. 


Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter (full review below)

"... features  the spoken words of Jane (no last name) and Albey Onbass on bass. Could this be Albey Balgochian and his partner Jane ZenBeatz, both of whom worked with Cecil Taylor? The music here has a mysterious, eerie, drifting vibe with a subtle, selective amount of reverb added like seasoning. PEK takes his time on each instrument, while Albey adds another layer, spinning a web and Jane also takes her time, quietly adding her poetry in soft spurts."



   

​Audio CD             Evil Clown 9203

Axioms - Manifestations
streaming, downloads and CD mail Order

1) Manifestations - 1:07:28

   Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA

   13 December 2018


Jane SpokenWord  - spoken word
PEK -  alto & bass saxophones, clarinet & 

   contralto clarinet, bass tromboon, Akai

   EWI5000, [d]ronin, daxophone, gongs,

   tank & brontosaurus bells, Tibetan

   bowls, crotales, cymbells, orchestral

   chimes 
Albey onBass - electric upright bass,

   gongs 
Joel Simches - live to 2 track recording,

   real time signal processing​

Excerpt from Liner Notes (full text below)

Axiom has two definitions:
1) a statement or proposition that is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true
2) a statement or proposition on which an abstractly defined structure is based (mathematics)

These two meanings bridge the distance between discussion of truths and abstract musical structures.

In just a short period Albey has done a bunch of Evil Clown sets – tearing it up on each one - but this is the first performance where the ensemble was small enough that we had so much direct interaction. Over the years I have observed that when improvising musicians play in larger ensembles (developing common language and core unity in the larger setting) that often extraordinary things happen when that core is exposed in smaller ensembles. This is often visible in core trio Leap of Faith sets which do occur, although much less often than the LOF core trio driving a larger unit. In both the sections of the piece where we supported Jane’s spoken word and where we opened up in interludes between the spoken elements, I felt we communicated at a deep level that I find astonishing considering the short period of our performances to date. This is what happens when deeply seasoned improvisers create a new ongoing relationship.

Raffi Photos

YouTube

Great MTV style videos by Jane of single poem extracts from the improvisation

Evil Clown 

On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... ​using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation."   - Squidco website staff