Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter
TURBULENCE with PEK / DAN O’BRIEN / ZACK BARTHOLOMEI / JIM WARSHAUER / ERIC DAHLMAN / BOB MOORES / YURI ZBITNOV - Flow Across Scales (Evil Clown 9189; USA) Turbulence features PEK on saxes, bamboo soprano, clarinets, double reeds, sheng, etc; Dan O’Brien alto & tenor saxes, clarinets & flutes; Zack Bartholomej on alto & soprano saxes, clarinet & flute; Jim Warshauer on curved soprano & alto saxes, Eric Dahlman on trumpets, flugel & game calls; Bob Moores on trumpet & shofar and Yuri Zbitnov on drums & percussion. Turbulence is one of the half dozen Leap of faith offshoot bands, it has just two constant members: PEK and Yuri Zbitnov, both longtime members of Leap of Faith. The instrumentation here consists mainly of four reeds players, two trumpeters and a drummer. As usual, everyone switches between a variety of reed & brass instruments & other oddities. In the first section, the horns all swirl together in a dream-like, somber way. Mr/ Zbitnov’s drums are central and keep things focused while the six horns swirl in and out of each others stream/flow. Things slowly get more dense as they unfold. The following section features a number of long, inspired solos for soprano sax, flute, trumpet(s), other reeds and/or double-reeds. Instead of going to a movie or a concert, Dave PEK does a fine job of gathering dozens of like-minded improvisers from the Boston area and organizing concerts and studio sessions, several times a month. And recording each and every one, as well as releasing every one as well. How does he maintain such a strong batting average? Well over 100 releases by now - early March of 2019. Another solid effort and with little or no vocal weirdness. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
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
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.
On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff
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.
Review (excerpt) by Bruce Lee Gallanter,
Downtown Music Gallery
“…In the first section, the horns all swirl together in a dream-like, somber way. Mr/ Zbitnov’s drums are central and keep things focused while the six horns swirl in and out of each others stream/flow. Things slowly get more dense as they unfold. The following section features a number of long, inspired solos for soprano sax, flute, trumpet(s), other reeds and/or double-reeds. Instead of going to a movie or a concert, Dave PEK does a fine job of gathering dozens of like-minded improvisers from the Boston area and organizing concerts and studio sessions, several times a month. And recording each and every one, as well as releasing every one as well. How does he maintain such a strong batting average? Well over 100 releases by now - early March of 2019. Another solid effort and with little or no vocal weirdness.”
"A larger than previous Boston collective's Turbulence ensemble with 6 of the regular horn players from Leap of Faith Orchestra, performing multi-reedist and instrumentalist PEK's extended framework, with drummer percussionist Yui Zbitnoff; the ensembe breaks down to three duos and guest saxophonist Bob O'Brien, captured live at Outpost 186, in Cambridge, MA in August 2018."
Photos by Raffi,
Audio CD Evil Clown 9189
Turbulence - Flow Across Scales
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,
Eric Dahlman - trumpet & pocket trumpet,
flugelhorn, game calls, recorder, overtone voice