PEK - tarota, tube-o-phones, gong, [d]ronin, metal, hand chimes,
ableton mix, electronics, bass and sopranino saxophones, contra-alto
clarinet, clarinet, oboe, dulzaina, orchestral chimes, hand chimes,
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
3 December 2016, 13 February & 5 March 2017
PEK Solo - Thulsa Doom
by Bruce Lee Gallanter,
Downtown Music Gallery
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.
Video Grab tweaked by PEK
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
First PEK Solo album since early 2015...
I've always done solo pieces here and there... In my earliest days (80s) I went on a lot of trips with rock climbers and played tenor sax for hours and hours in natural settings with amazing acoustics... Later in the 90s I did a some solo performances... In 2015, after the Leap of Faith Haitus, I did a few more... Now, there is a new solo set for 2017... Recorded since December 2016, four tracks featuring some of my newest instruments and improvisation practices: bass sax, orchestral chimes, tarota, tube-o-phone, melodicas, signal processing and Ableton mixes of processed samples from the Evil Clown catalog...
PEK - March 2017
PEK Solo - Thulsa Doom
PEK - Solo: Thulsa Doom (Evil Clown 9134; USA) Featuring Dave Peck on bass & sopranino saxes, clarinets, oboe, tarota, tube-o-phones, gong, electronics, ableton mix, dulzaina, melodicas, etc. Considering that Mr. Peck has released upwards of a hundred discs from the ongoing band Leap of Faith and their many offshoot projects, this appears to be a rare solo effort. It was recorded at two sessions in Evil Clown Headquarters in February and March of this year (2017). Like another reeds pioneer mentioned above in this weeks newsletter, Vinny Golia, Mr. Peck collects and owns a large quantity of rare reed instruments. Hence the use of a dulzaina, a rare Spanish oboe-like double reed. “Scalar Invariant Curvatures” opens with strange, ancient sounding, ritualistic sounds. Mr. Peck bathes his playing with some hypnotic echo or reverb. Hard to believe that we are listening to just one person, since things occasionally sound dense or disorienting. Reverberating gongs or metals, bizarre sounding double-reeds and electronics create another world, a planet where you never know what odd occurrence will take place but it seems somehow familiar.What this reminds me of at times are the Master Musicians of Bukkake, one of the weirdest musical groups from the Pacific north west, still in existence. Most impressive on many levels and occasionally disturbing.