Review:

Leap of Faith Orchestra performs

Supernovae by PEK

by Karl  Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com

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.

Photos by Raffi,

Liner Notes by PEK

I formed Turbulence in 2015 as I started to assemble players for the Leap of Faith Orchestra. Turbulence, the extended horn section for the Orchestra (along with guests on other instruments), also records and performs as an independent unit. As if this writing in May of 2018, we have had about 20 albums on Evil Clown with greatly varied ensembles. The only musician on all of them is myself. The sessions range from an early duet with Steve Norton and Myself (Vortex Generation Mechanisms) to a 5 horn band with bass and two percussionists (Encryption Schemes) to four albums by the side project Turbulence Doom Choir which feature myself, multiple tubas, percussion, electronics and signal processing.

Zack Bartolomei and Dan O’Brien joined the Evil Clown roster a while back and have played with Leap of Faith, Leap of Faith Orchestra, and other projects. They go way back with each other. I love it when I find a group of improvisers who have long history with each other who are eager to participate since the whole ensemble benefits from the prior experience of the previously established sub-units.

Buoyancy is the third set by this trio version of Turbulence and is very tight due to the number of Evil Clown sessions with all three of us performing as part of the ensemble. In July 2017, we recorded the first of these trio sets, Agitation, and then in March 2018 we recorded the second, Incompressible Flow. This is a highly effective trio version of Turbulence that we plan do again in the future.

Jim Warshauer and Eric Dahlman also came to EC with a lot of previous mutual experience. Their first set with us, Vorticity, was a quartet with myself and Yuri on the drums at Evil Clown Headquarters. They have since then been on a quintet Leap of Faith session with the core trio (myself, Yuri and cellist Glynis Lomon) and the performance by the Leap of Faith Orchestra of PEKs graphic frame notation score Cosmological Horizons.


This show is the first larger Turbulence ensemble bringing together these players. With a septet at Outpost 186, we were more cramped for space than usual, consequently we all traveled (relatively) light without many of the percussion and auxiliary instruments we often bring. So, this improvisation focuses on the sounds of all of the wind instruments in their various combinations.


PEK - 2/19/2018

Evil Clown 

Turbulence - Flow Across Scales

Outpost 186, Cambridge MA

18 August 2018


Three duets + Bob!!  Sometimes people come to the Evil Clown Roster in Groups...  This set, played by six of the main regular horn players from the Leap of Faith Orchestra and Yuri tearing it up on the drums, demonstrates the kind of focus and control that comes to players who improvise together frequently.  The septet contains 3 different duets with significant history (PEK & Yuri, Dan & Zack, and Eric & Jim) joined by Bob, a veteran of over 20 sessions in the last few years...  So, there's a lot of familiarity that goes along with the newness of the first time these players made music together in this exact unit.

2

Audio  CD                            Evil Clown 9189

Turbulence - Flow Across Scales

Streaming, downloads and CD Orders


Flow Across Scales - 1:10:28


PEK - bamboo soprano, tenor & bass saxophones,

     clarinet & contraalto clarinet, English horn.

     tarota, contrabassoon, alto flute, sheng, wind siren 

Dan O'Brien - alto & tenor saxophones, clarinet &

     bass clarinet, flute, piccolo 
Zack Bartolomei - alto & soprano saxophones,

     clarinet, flute, piano

Jim Warshauer - curved soprano & alto saxophones,

     whistles 

Eric Dahlman - trumpet & pocket trumpet,

     flugelhorn, game calls, recorder, overtone voice 

​Bob Moores - trumpet, shofar, voice 
Yuri Zbitnov - drums, Tibetan bowls, gong