PEK - clarinet, contra-alto clarinet, sopranino, tenor and bass
saxophones, oboe, contra-bassoon, tromboon, mussette, dulzaina,
suona, melodica, goat horn, game calls, wind siren, tibetan bell, slide
whistles, percussion, bullroarer
Dan O’Brien - piccolo, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone,
Zach Bartolomei - soprano and alto saxophones, melodica, table
smacking, bead rattle
Bob Moores - trumpet, shofar, electronics, game calls, slide whistle,
John Baylies - electric tuba, computer, synthesizer
Rob Miller Photo tweaked by PEK
Audio CD Evil Clown 9133
Turbulence - Flux
streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
Flux - 1:10:37
Turbulence - Flux
Outpost 186, Cambridge MA
18 February 2017
Photos by Rob Miller
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.