Evil Clown 

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

Review:

Leap of Faith Orchestra performs

Supernovae by PEK

by Karl  Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com

PEK tweak of a Raffi Photo

Leap of Faith - Order of Ramifications

Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA - 11 November 2018

​Audio CD                    Evil Clown 9199

Leap of Faith - Order of Ramifications
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1) Order of Ramifications - 1:11:00

   Evil Clown Headquarters - 11 November 2018

PEK -  alto, tenor & bass saxophones, clarinet & contraalto clarinet, tarota, english horn, tromboon, sheng, ms-20, brontosaurus & tank bells, crotales, chains, cymbells, brake drums, [d]ronin, orchestral chimes, daiko, wood, metal ​
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice 
Elinor Speirs - violin, log drums, glockenspiel, metal, wood, crotales, cymbells 
Yuri Zbitnov - drums, brontosaurus & tank bells, crotales, cymbells, brake drums, [d]ronin, wood, metal, chains

​​

YouTube

Liner Notes by PEK

Leap of Faith is the core trio of the Leap of Faith Orchestra (LOFO) comprised of PEK on clarinets, saxophones, double reeds & flutes, Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, and Yuri Zbitnov on drums & percussion. The ensemble is based in Boston and dates back to the early 90s. We utilize a huge arsenal of additional Evil Clown instruments to improvise long works featuring transformations across highly varied sonorities. The ensemble has always been highly modular and our many recordings feature the core trio in dozens of configurations with a huge list of guests.

Violinist Elinor Speirs is our special guest for Order of Ramifications. She is working on a DMA at New England Conservatory, like our regular LOFO member Dan O’Brien. I contacted her for the string section for the performance of my work for improvisation orchestra, Cosmological Horizons, performed in July at Killian Hall MIT. We also recorded a great Leap of Faith quintet with both Elinor and Mimi Rabson at Evil Clown Headquarters just prior (Topological Construction).

Elinor and Mimi are both gifted violinists who perform in many musical settings and are not primarily improvisers. They bring a different sensibility from classical & jazz, which they draw from when they play with us in a much more open setting. We are always happy to have them on board when we can find a date that works.

One of the principal mechanisms in pure improvisation is imitation. Various aspects of musical sound can be imitated. Three broad categories are texture, gesture and motive. Glynis and I go back now over 25 years and our musical interaction has always included a great deal of textural and gestural imitation as we seek to blend our sounds together into complex combinations. Of course, we use lots of other mechanisms including contrasting our sounds and many others. What I found interesting about this session is that there is much more motivic imitation than is typical in Leap of Faith improvisations. Most of our sound objects are not essentially melodic and motivic imitation involves capturing melodic or rhythmic or rhythmic fragments and responding with similar or developed fragment.

Elinor’s classical background has given her a remarkable clean and rapid sound which makes a very interesting contrast to the “dirty” sounds that Glynis and I favor where there are a lot of harmonics in the sound and the pitch often is microtonal or even glissando. An example of gestural imitation occurs when both Glynis and I play long glissando – a straightforward gesture on orchestral strings, but a sound I spent years understanding how to play on woodwinds.

Elinor has completed her DMA at New England Conservatory and has relocated to New York, however she is frequently on the road and is still often in Boston. We were able to arrange this session when she was in town for other gigs and I’m hopeful that we can get in 3 or 4 sessions a year with her going forward.

PEK, 12 November 2018

​​Review (excerpt)

       by Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

"Starting off quietly, the suspense runs deep. The music here is stripped down so we just hear the two strings and percussion for a while. Ms. Spiers erupts half way through this long set, with quick, intense lines while Pek also unleashes layers of interweaving fragments. Mr. Zbitnov usually plays drums and often keeps the rhythmic flows going, lays back here and plays more minimal cymbals & bells. Ms. Spiers is a gifted violinist and throughout the second half of this long set she is featured at length, taking long & winding solos, with some strong interaction from Ms. Lomon’s equally impressive cello and Zbitnov’s spinning brushwork. ...things are often more minimal and the pace is slower at times. Subtle yet still engaging, nonetheless."  (Full review below)


Liner Notes (excerpt)

"...  Glynis and I go back now over 25 years and our musical interaction has always included a great deal of textural and gestural imitation as we seek to blend our sounds together into complex combinations. Of course, we use lots of other mechanisms including contrasting our sounds and many others. What I found interesting about this session is that there is much more motivic imitation than is typical in Leap of Faith improvisations. Most of our sound objects are not essentially melodic and motivic imitation involves capturing melodic or rhythmic fragments and responding with similar or developed fragment..."

PEK  Liner Notes- 11/12/2018 (Full Notes Below)

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.

Raffi Photos

​​Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery


LEAP OF FAITH with PEK / GLYNIS LOMON / YURI ZBITNOV / ELINOR SPIERS - Order of Ramifications (Evil Clown 9199; USA) This is a smaller quartet version of Leap of Faith which features: PEK on alto, tenor & bass saxes, clarinets, tarogato, English horn, sheng & assorted percussion; Glynis Lomon on cello & aquasonics, Elinor Spiers on violin & percussion and Yuri Zbitnov on drums, metal & percussion. This disc was recorded at Evil Clown HQ on November 11 of 2018. Dave Peck’s large Leap of Faith empire has just dropped another half dozen discs upon us as they do a few times a year. This is no surprise since they have passed the 100 mark and are still pretty prolific.

   This is a studio session and features just a quartet, the core trio of PEK, Ms. Lomon & Mr. Zbitnov plus newer member Elinor Spiers, who has been on a few recent LOF CD’s. As a quartet it is easier to hear who is playing what: mostly reeds, two strings and assorted percussion. Starting off quietly, the suspense runs deep. The music here is stripped down so we just hear the two strings and percussion for a while. Ms. Spiers erupts half way through this long set, with quick, intense lines while Pek also unleashes layers of interweaving fragments. Mr. Zbitnov usually plays drums and often keeps the rhythmic flows going, lays back here and plays more minimal cymbals & bells. Ms. Spiers is a gifted violinist and throughout the second half of this long set she is featured at length, taking long & winding solos, with some strong interaction from Ms. Lomon’s equally impressive cello and Zbitnov’s spinning brushwork. A number of the Leap of Faith discs I’ve reviewed in the past can get pretty dense at times, depending on how many musicians are involved. Not so much here, things are often more minimal and the pace is slower at times. Subtle yet still engaging, nonetheless. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG   

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