Evil Clown 

2

Metal Chaos Ensemble - Luminiferous Aether

Evil Clown Headquarters - 10 January 2019

YouTube

Review Excerpt by Nick Ostrum (Full Text Below)

"About ten minutes in, the musicians hit their groove, as the discrete rumblings well into a whirling psychedelic stew of depth, gravity, and ludicrousness befitting, well, the Luminiferous Ether it seeks to reflect...   Although Luminiferous Ether stands on its own, consider it one more contribution to the Evil Clown collective's catalog, another unique brick in its wall, or maybe more appropriately, one long, colorful strip of fabric in its bizarrely calico circus tent. It glistens and rustles. It is weird. It draws one's ears. And, it is one small but important contribution to the broader evolving, luminiferous whole." 

     - Nick Ostrum, SquidsEar


Review Excerpt by Bruce Lee Gallanter  (Full Text Below)

"Everything is well-recorded, the subtle layers of percussion slowly getting more dense. The sextet mix tribal drumming with eerie synth sounds and spacey cymbals, metal or balafons. Although all of this music is improvised, Mr. Pek always assembles ensembles who listen, react and contribute selectively. Rarely do things get too dense. Mostly, everything flows together organically although, the echo effects also keep the vibe mesmerizing. "

     - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG    


Liner Notes Excerpt (full text below)

"...  This particular set is a bit MCE old school, since 3 of the five musicians are great drummers. I had tried to schedule a session like this a few months ago with myself and these three drummers, but Yuri had car trouble and Syd’s wife uses their car on Thursdays, so Steve and I ended up doing a duet (Emergent Syntax)...   ....This time It was looking like we were going to be Yuri, Steve, myself with Joel in the recording chair. I need to have Joel here for the mix when the ensemble gets more complicated and it seemed like a smaller unit, so I thought I would bring in Eric on synth, since I’ve been looking for a good set for that. Turns out Syd was able to ride with Eric and we ultimately had this full quintet!"
    - PEK 


Squidco Blurb

"Metal Chaos Ensemble, formed in 2015 as a working project to explore rhythms on metallic instruments guided by rule-based chaotic systems of a very large number of small components, presents a quintet studio recording using three dedicated drummers, reeds, electronics, and accompanying "tape" mixes, resulting in epic, inspired and wonderfully unpredictable improvisation."

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

​​​Audio CD                                              Evil Clown 9205

Metal Chaos Ensemble - Luminiferous Aether
streaming, downloads and CD mail Order

1) Luminiferous Aether- 1:10:22

   Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA - 1/10/2019

PEK -  clarinet & contralto clarinet, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, bass tromboon, Melodica, wind siren, wood flute, Akia ewi, moog subsequent, Korg ms-20, [d]Ronin, Brontosaurus & tank bells, crotales, cymbells, log drums, metal, wood, voice, Ableton Mix* ​ 

Eric Zinman - synth, balafon, log drums
Yuri Zbitnov - drums, metal, wood, Orchestral Chimes, crotales, wind siren, kazoo, [d]ronin, recitation, voice 

Steve Niemitz - drums, tabla, balafon, log drums, glockenspiel, Orchestral Chimes, crotales, cymbells, Dan-Mo, metal, wood, crank siren 
Syd Smart - drums, handsonic, theremin, talking drum, ocean drum, metal, voice 

Joel Simches - real time signal processing and live to 2-track mix 

*samples from the Evil Clown catalog or specially recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters

​​

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 video grab

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 Ambient 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.

In the early days of MCE, most of our sets were with multiple percussion players. More of the recent MCE sets have a bigger variety of instruments with everyone doubling the percussion, more emphasis on electronic instruments and signal processing, and fewer dedicated percussionists… This particular set is a bit MCE old school, since 3 of the five musicians are great drummers. I had tried to schedule a session like this a few months ago with myself and these three drummers, but Yuri had car trouble and Syd’s wife uses their car on Thursdays, so Steve and I ended up doing a duet (Emergent Syntax).

This time It was looking like we were going to be Yuri, Steve, myself with Joel in the recording chair. I need to have Joel here for the mix when the ensemble gets more complicated and it seemed like a smaller unit, so I thought I would bring in Eric on synth, since I’ve been looking for a good set for that. Turns out Syd was able to ride with Eric and we ultimately had this full quintet!

I’m very happy with this performance which combines the old school percussion dominated MCE with some of the electronics of the new school MCE. Check it out!

PEK 1/12/2019

Review:

Leap of Faith Orchestra performs

Supernovae by PEK

by Karl  Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com

Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery


METAL CHAOS ENSEMBLE With PEK / ERIC ZINMAN / YURI ZBITNOV / STEVE NIEMITZ / SYD SMART - Luminiferous Aether (Evil Clown 9205; USA) The Metal Chaos Ensemble or MCE feature this time: PEK on carnets, saxes, melodica, synths & percussion; Eric Zinman on synth, balafon & log drums; Yuri Zbitnov on drums, metal, orchestral percussion; Steve Niemitz on drums, tabla, balafon, wood & metal; Syd Smart drum, theremin, etc. and Joel Simches on signal processing. The MCE seem to be the most prolific of all the Leap of Faith offshoot projects with some 15 previous releases. The personnel changes from session to session, with just a trio on some discs (PEK, Zbitnov & Simches). This session was recorded at Evil Clown HQ in January of this year (2019, just last month) and this version is a sextet. All six members play a variety of percussion: brontosaurus bells, cymbals, crotales, balafon, log drums, metal & wood. Two of are elders: Syd Smart (for Raphe Malik & Ted Daniel) and Eric Zinman (for Linda Sharrock), who have been around for a long time, but remain under the radar. Mr. Zbitnov does a creepy spoken word recitation to start things off, it is short and slowly the percussion and synth swirl softly together, building, layer by layer. PEK selectively chooses one reed or double reed at a time, taking solos on each while the percussion, synth(s) and processing weave their way around one another. Everything is well-recorded, the subtle layers of percussion slowly getting more dense. The sextet mix tribal drumming with eerie synth sounds and spacey cymbals, metal or balafons. Although all of this music is improvised, Mr. Pek always assembles ensembles who listen, react and contribute selectively. Rarely do things get too dense. Mostly, everything flows together organically although, the echo effects also keep the vibe mesmerizing. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG    

Raffi Photos

Review by Nick Ostrum, Squid's Ear

Metal Chaos Ensemble is Eric Zinman, Yuri Zbitnov, Steve Niemitz, Syd Smart, Joel Simches, and, PEK; in other words, it is the percussion section (with some modifications) of the wildly adventurous Leap of Faith Orchestra. Although this is a pared-down unit, Metal Chaos maintains the sonic immensity of the larger collective, in largepart through deploying a truly impressive array of tools. Some — various reeds, drum kits, melodica, synth, samples from the PEK catalog, and tabula — are familiar enough. Others — metal, wood, belatrons, Brontosaurus and tank bells, [d]Ronin, Dan-Mo, and various sirens — less so. The result is an hour-long jam session of thoroughly trippy improvisational cacophony. It begins with a recorded lecture on the solar physics disrupted by a chime and rolling montage of percussive clack and sci-fi sounds. About ten minutes in, the musicians hit their groove, as the discrete rumblings well into a whirling psychedelic stew of depth, gravity, and ludicrousness befitting, well, the Luminiferous Ether it seeks to reflect. From this point, the album oscillates between low electro-percussive simmers and spacey synth-driven cacophony. Even so, it never reaches the blow-out or meltdown one might expect with such an adventurous configuration. The focus is on restrained dynamics, tension, and strange, churning ambience rather than explosive crescendo and shock.

There is a potential downside to being as prolific as PEK and his Leap of Faith collective, as releases can sound like works-in-progress, as steps along the way to some, yet unrealized end. That said, Sun Ra — a clear inspiration for this project — could shine some light on this. As with Ra — a man who performed, recorded, and released relentlessly, even posthumously — the process itself was the actual end, each step a realization of just a small piece of an opus sealed not by a definitive work, but by the sheer number and variety of creative releases. That same applies to this album. Although Luminiferous Ether stands on its own, consider it one more contribution to the Evil Clown collective's catalog, another unique brick in its wall, or maybe more appropriately, one long, colorful strip of fabric in its bizarrely calico circus tent. It glistens and rustles. It is weird. It draws one's ears. And, it is one small but important contribution to the broader evolving, luminiferous whole.

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