On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
2020 to present
Last year, just before the onset of the pandemic, I had a first session with a new percussionist, Michael Knoblach entitled Main Sequence… Although Michael plays the drum set, in recent years he has been focused on percussion. This duet with the Evil Clown percussion arsenal along with instruments from Michael’s huge collection available enabled wonderful new sonority. Michael plays at a quieter mean dynamic than is typical for Evil Clown ensembles. Leap of Faith, in particular, has stretches of this quieter space in nearly every improvisation, but the mean dynamic is much louder. It was very interesting to focus an entire set on my lower volume vocabulary. Following my nomenclature for ensemble names, this first set was released with the band name Sub Unit No.1.
In May of 2021, I opened Evil Clown Headquarters to other fully vaccinated musicians, and the first session of the new age was scheduled to revisit this sound world. Michael and I both enjoyed the auspicious first set and this will be an ongoing Evil Clown project, both as a duet for some sets and as a trio or quartet for others. As an ongoing project, it needed a permanent name, so after some thought I came up with Expanse which evokes space and restraint, key concepts behind this ensemble.
- PEK (21 May 2021)
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 Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff