On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff
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.
PEK tweak of a Raffi Photo
Liner Notes by PEK
Metal Chaos Ensemble was formed in early 2015 by PEK and Yuri Zbitnov as a working project to explore chaotic rhythms on metallic instruments. I had started to amass the Evil Clown Arsenal of percussion, electronic and wind instruments and we needed a workshop to develop this universe of sounds for the Leap of Faith Orchestra. It was immediately obvious that Metal Chaos Ensemble had a sound to itself and over the last three years has been one of the most prolific Evil Clown ensembles. We have produced a bunch of albums covering a wide range of sonority sets, but always with the presence of Gongs, chimes, glockenspiel, Tibetan Bowls and many other metallic sounds and the horns of PEK. All Metal Chaos Ensemble sessions include at least myself and Yuri, along with a whole bunch of different guests.
For around 2 years now, I have been using the Ableton software to create electronic mixes which we use in several of the bands as an accompaniment track. In performance, I ride the fader from off to very present, but most of the time more to the background. Raw samples are taken from the Evil Clown Catalog and also specially recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters with instruments drawn from the Evil Clown arsenal. I then use Adobe Audition to process the samples and finally Ableton to assemble a timeline and create a mix. Most of the more recent MCE sessions use one of these mixes.
I have had a bunch of different stages in the organization of the Ableton mix. This particular mix has samples from some of the newest instruments in the Evil Clown Arsenal: The ARP Odessey and the EWI5000 – a remake of a classic analog synth and a state of the art wind controller. The other sample track was performed on the moog subsequent37. I made three 80 minute mixes from these synthesizer sample tracks and then did a second mix with these and about 12 others previously made for other sessions. I observed something new, when transforming the samples by stretching or compressing and raising or lowering the pitch, in that these synthesized samples, which have a very clean machine generated sound, behave differently under transformation that the samples I have used lots of in the past created from acoustic instruments which are rich with harmonics and other complex detail.
I created these synth heavy ableton accompaniment tracks for this session which is the most synth oriented Metal Chaos Ensemble session to date. Not only did we have the mix, but also the synths used to created it plus the modular analog synth of Eric Woods, and new laptop synthesis from Evil Clown regular Bob Moores. Rounding out the session are myself on clarinets, saxophones + misc, Evil Clown percussion maestro Yuri Zbitnov and the return of the amazing bassist Alby onBass who is using the electric upright bass for this set.
Liner Notes Excerpt (Full Text Below)
"... I created these synth heavy ableton accompaniment tracks for this session which is the most synth oriented Metal Chaos Ensemble session to date. Not only did we have the mix, but also the synths used to created it plus the modular analog synth of Eric Woods, and new laptop synthesis from Evil Clown regular Bob Moores. Rounding out the session are myself on clarinets, saxophones + misc, Evil Clown percussion maestro Yuri Zbitnov and the return of the amazing bassist Alby onBass who is using the electric upright bass for this set."
Metal Chaos Ensemble -
Electric Sword Machine
Evil Clown Headquarters - 8 December 2018
Audio CD Evil Clown 9188
Metal Chaos Ensemble - Electric Sword Machine
bandcamp: streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
1) Syncretic Discipline- 1:10:10
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA - 8/2/2018
PEK - Alto & bass saxophones, clarinet and conrtalto clarinet, bass tromboon, wood flute, EWI5000, ms-20, subsequent 37, ARP odyssey, daxophone, [d]ronin, brontosaurus & tank bells, ableton mix*
Yuri Zbitnov - drums, metal, wood, [d]ronin, orchestral chimes, brontosaurus & tank bells, kazoo, subsequent 37, seed pod rattles
Albey onBass - upright electric bass, electronics
* Samples from the Evil Clown Catalog