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.
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 March 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 sub-units. In July 2017, we did a trio (Agitation) at Evil Clown Headquarters which was excellent.
At Evil Clown Headquarters there is a ton of exotic percussion and other instruments and all four of us make many palate changes. This naturally results in the steady flow of transformations through highly varied sonorities presented here. This is a highly effective trio version of Turbulence that we plan do again in the future.
Photos by Raffi,
Audio CD Evil Clown 9171
Turbulence - Incompressible Flow
Fluid Parcels 1:10:15
PEK - alto, tenor & bass saxophones, clarinet &
contraalto clarinet, alto flute, english horn,
contrabassoon, sheng, accordion, slide whistle,
metal, wood, hand chimes, voice
Dan O'Brien - tenor & baritone saxophones,
clarinet & bass clarinet, flute, piccolo, hand
chimes, metal, wood
Zack Bartolomei - alto & soprano saxophones,
flute, log drums, balafon, glockenspeil, metal,
Turbulence - Incompressible Flow
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
15 March 2018
Full Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter below
“… Things build slowly as the three horns play tentatively at first, calm and steady. What I find most intriguing is that has found a way to experiment with a variety of rare and not-so-rare reed instruments, hence there are a number of odd combinations: several double reeds like English horn contrabassoon & sheng along with various saxes and clarinets. The trio methodically pick one reed at a time and explore calmly, slowly. From the occasional Sun Ra Arkestra-like bent-note sax blasts to more thoughtful, calmly paced sections… The balance of extremes is well chosen and selectively paced. Another choice disc from the deluge of Leap of Faith releases.”
- Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter below
TURBULENCE With PEK / DAN O’BRIEN / ZACK BARTOLOMEJ - Incompressible Flow (Evil Clown 9171; USA) Featuring PEK on alto, tenor & bass saxes, clarinets, flute, English horn & bassoon, sheng & percussion, Dan O’Brien on tenor & bari saxes, clarinets, flutes & percussion and Zack Bartolomej on alto & soprano saxes, flute, balafon & percussion. The core of Leap of Faith was Dave Peck, Glynis Lomon, Steve Norton & Yuri Zbitnov. When Steve Norton moved away, Mr. Peck has replaced him with two younger reeds players: Dan O’Brien and Zack Bartolomei. Turbulence is an offshoot of Leap of Faith, with three previous discs with varying personnel. This current disc, features a mainly a reeds trio, with each member playing an assortment of reeds and percussion. As the Leap of faith Orchestra gigs continue to expand, Mr. Peck has consistently found a large number of kindred spirits in the Boston area. This disc was recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters (PEK’s home studio?) and has warm, clear sound. It starts with two or three flutes with occasional added percussion, thoughtful and dreamy, restrained at first. Things build slowly as the three horns play tentatively at first, calm and steady. What I find most intriguing is that has found a way to experiment with a variety of rare and not-so-rare reed instruments, hence there are a number of odd combinations: several double reeds like English horn contrabassoon & sheng along with various saxes and clarinets. The trio methodically pick one reed at a time and explore calmly, slowly. From the occasional Sun Ra Arkestra-like bent-note sax blasts to more thoughtful, calmly paced sections. I like the title of this unit, Turbulence, although not everything is that turbulent. The balance of extremes is well chosen and selectively paced. Another choice disc from the deluge of Leap of Faith releases.
- Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG