On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
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.
Here are some links to the LOFO&SU Third Life Shows from last year:
1) Sub-Unit 1 - Troposphere
2) Sub-Unit 2 – Mesosphere
3) Sub-Unit 3 - Straosphere
4) Orchestra – Cloud Taxonomies
1) Sub-Unit 1: Effects Preceding Cause
2) Sub-Unit 2: Non-Local Correlations
3) Sub-Unit 3: Light Cones
4) Orchestra: Retrocausal Strategies
Sub-Unit 1. Derivations
Sub-Unit 2. Predicates
Sub-Unit 3. Fuzzy Logic
Orchestra 4. Inferences AKA Tweedy Probably Flies
Sub-Unit 1: Premises
Sub-Unit 2: Validity and Soundness
Sub-Unit 3: Conditional Statements
Sub-Unit 4: Truth Tables
Refuting Leplace's Demon
Sub-Unit 1: Necessary Incompleteness
Sub-Unit 2: Logical Independence
Sub-Unit 3: Uncertainty Relations
Sub-Unit 4: Observer Effect
Orchestra: Refuting Leplace's Demon
PEK tweak of a Catherine Hammond Photo
PEK tweak of a Catherine Hammond Photo
Review Excerpt from Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
“…The Leap of faith Orchestra, which is only an octet here, is also in fine form and held together by PEK’s timed segments, rarely if ever too chaotic, incredibly focused yet still exuberant and intense in part. The Leap of faith Orchestra seem to be PEK’s most successful ensemble due to the way Mr. Peck has chosen his featured musicians, np matter how many are involved. If you dig cosmic large ensemble music, then this disc is for you!” - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
(full review below)
PEK tweak of a Catherine Hammond Photo
Leap of Faith Orchestra & Sub-Units -
Third Life Studios, Somerville MA - 6 July 2019
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff
2 Audio CDs Evil Clown 9221
Leap of Faith Orchestra & Sub-Units
- Vritual Particles
1. Sub-Unit No.1 - Impedance of Free Space - 20:51
2. Sub-Unit No.2 - Asymtopic States - 20:38
3. Sub-Unit No.3 - Popping In & Out of
Existence - 20:26
4. Orchestra - Virtual Particles - 50:25
Third Life Studios , Somerville MA - 6 July 2019
- PEK (1-4) - clarinet & contralto clarinets, sopranino, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, English horn, contrabassoon, Christmas, bamboo & alto flutes, sheng, melodica, wind siren, gongs, Englephone, hand chimes, metal, wood, voice
- Glynis Lomon (1,3,4) - cello, aquasonic, voice, hand chimes
- Eric Dahlman (2,3,4) - trumpet, overtone voice, trident, wood, Metal
Liner Notes by PEK
Five times a year, a smallish Leap of Faith Orchestra (10 to 15 players) heads over to Third Life Studios in Somerville for an evening of large ensemble improvisation. For the first half of the show, we do four short 15 minute improvisations or three 20 minute improvisations by different trio, quartet or quintet sub-groupings of the orchestra. Then we do a 50 minute improvisation with everyone.
These shows are open to the entire Evil Clown roster of about 50 musicians. So, although we have some steady regulars, the orchestra really is different every time. I assign the sub-units to take advantage of unusual groupings of instruments. I also bring a bunch of auxiliary instruments like wood blocks, hand chimes, bells, slide whistles, sirens, etc., which we distribute though the ensemble to enable players to completely change their sound.
This performance is sadly the last concert of this format to be performed at Third Life Studios. Union Square has been gentrifying and our host Susan can’t pay the landlords rent hikes, so she has closed it down. Leap of Faith Orchestra & Sub-Units’ residency included 13 concerts over a three year period, all of which were well-recorded and released on Evil Clown. I planning a download editions of all 25 CDs worth of material from the run in the near future… Keep your eyes peeled, I’ll make a nice digital booklet and budget price the whole package for $50…
This particular ensemble is a bit smaller than many of these shows at 8 performers, but all are regulars and we all know each other’s cues… The first short piece is core Leap of Faith with Eric Zinman on piano and Devon on harmonica, the second is Turbulence (just the horn players), the third set is core Leap of Faith with Bob and Eric D on trumpets, and the large set at the end has everyone. A great performance by this veteran improvisation ensemble to close out a highly productive 3 year run in this wonderful Somerville space.
Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter
LEAP OF FAITH ORCHESTRA & SUB UNITS with PEK / GLYNIS LOMON / YURI ZBITNOV / ERIC DAHLMAN / BOB MOORES / DUANE REED / ERIC ZINMAN / DEVIN LOMON - Virtual Particles (Evil Clown 9221; USA) Featuring PEK on clarinets, saxes, double reeds & percussion, Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, Yuri Zbitnov on drums & percussion, Eric Dahlman & Bob Moores on trumpets, Duane Reed bari horn, Eric Zinman on piano and Devin Lomon on harmonica. This is an octet version of the Leap of Faith Orchestra, which has had upwards of 20+ members in the past. Disc 1 features three different sub-units, which have between 3 & 5 members. This 2 CD set was recorded at Third Life Studios in Cambridge, MA in July of 2019 (last month!). Mr. Peck now runs a half dozen offshoot projects and keeps them busy with live performances and recording sessions. The sub units on disc 1 sound as if they have been working together for a while and a number of them have played previously. Sub-Unit 1 features the core trio: PEK, Glynis Lomon & Yuri Zbitnov plus guests Eric Zinman on piano and Devin Lomon (Glynis’ son or brother?) on harmonica. I get the feeling that most major cities in the US (and elsewhere) have at least one major pianist who is a master of free/jazz. John Blum in NYC is one such legend. Eric Zinman in the Boston area is another one. Instead of showing off his prowess, Mr. Zinman takes his time and adds select flurries on Sub-Unit 1 and with the orchestra on Disc 2. I get the feeling that Mr. Peck selects and directs his fellow musicians wisely as no one ever seems to overwhelm anyone else, there is always a good balance between each member. Sub Unit 2 features mostly horns: PEK, Eric Dahlman & Bob Moores on trumpets and Duane Reed on bari horn. Again all four members if this unit take their time and work well together, bending & twisting their notes in similar ways. Sub Unit 3 has the original trio (PEK, Lomon & Zbitnov) plus both trumpeters. This set is even better as the quintet push each other higher and further out with a good deal of engaging interaction.
The Leap of faith Orchestra, which is only an octet here, is also in fine form and held together by PEK’s timed segments, rarely if ever too chaotic, incredibly focused yet still exuberant and intense in part. The Leap of faith Orchestra seem to be PEK’s most successful ensemble due to the way Mr. Peck has chosen his featured musicians, np matter how many are involved. If you dig cosmic large ensemble music, then this disc is for you! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG