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.
Leap of Faith - Charge-Transfer Complex
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA - 27 March 2019
Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter (full text below)
“… The music starts out quietly with restrained but mysterious sounds. This is the most laid back of the Evil Clown catalogue. It sounds quite casual, like a few old friends getting together for a shared meal and conversation. There are some great moments, weird string duets that occur midway, never over-playing but creating a hypnotic trance of sorts…”
"Reed player, composer and multi-instrumentalist David Peck (Aka PEK) presents a string-oriented Edition of his long-running Leap of Faith ensemble, where violinist Mimi Rabson and cellist Glynis Lomon make up half of the quartet, all taking on a vast arsenal of percussive instruments, and Yuri Zbitnoff sporting a set of 'shiny new drums'."
LEAP OF FAITH with PEK / GLYNIS LOMON / YURI ZBITNOV / MIMI RAPSON - Charge-Transfer Complex (Evil Clown 9211; USA) Featuring PEK on clarinets, saxes, sheng, melodica…, Glynis Lomon on cello, acquasonic & voice, Mimi Rabson on violin, exotic percussion and Yuri Zbitnov on drums & percussion. This disc was recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters in March of 2019. This is one of the smaller versions of Leap of Faith, just a quartet with the three core members: PEK, Glynis Lomon & Yuri Zbitnov plus Mimi Rabson on violin & percussion. Ms. Rabson appears on just a couple of the more than 100 Leap of Faith projects. All four members of this quartet play percussion or acquasonic (waterphone), besides their regular axe(s). The music starts out quietly with restrained but mysterious sounds. This is the most laid back of the Evil Clown catalogue. It sounds quite casual, like a few old friends getting together for a shared meal and conversation. There are some great moments, weird string duets that occur midway, never over-playing but creating a hypnotic trance of sorts. When the synth finally enters, it does so very slowly, making it impossible to tell what that sound actually is. Rather magical in its own quaint way.
- 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
On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PEK tweak of a video grab
Liner Notes by PEK
Leap of Faith is the core trio of the Leap of Faith Orchestra (LOFO) comprised of PEK on clarinets, saxophones, double reeds & flutes, Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, and Yuri Zbitnov on drums & percussion. The ensemble is based in Boston and dates back to the early 90s. We utilize a huge arsenal of additional Evil Clown instruments to improvise long works featuring transformations across highly varied sonorities. The ensemble has always been highly modular and our many recordings feature the core trio in dozens of configurations with a huge list of guests.
There have been a number of formulations of Leap of Faith that emphasize one or two guests on String Instruments along with the core ensemble. One of the earliest core units from the 90s was actually a percussion-less trio with PEK, Glynis and the brilliant/crazy bass playing of Craig Schildhauer. So multi-string sonorities go back right to the root of Leap of Faith's 30 year journey. There have been a number of recent performances (since 2015) by String Theory - which is the current incarnation of this early core trio; just the string players and myself on woodwinds... But, we also have done small format sets with string playing guests and the current Leap of Faith core trio including the drums/percussion of Yuri.
In the last year or so, we have recorded several variations of this String Edition Leap of Faith ensemble with different great violinists: Mimi Rabson, Elinor Speirs and Robert Flax... Mimi goes way back with Glynis, having performed with her in the 80s before I showed up on the Boston Scene. Mimi is on the Berklee Faculty and is highly in demand to play all kinds of music. We love playing with her and do a session with her whenever she can make time for us in her busy schedule. This studio performance with LIVE YouTube Streaming features special guest Mimi in her fifth appearance in one of these special string Leap of Faith performances. After playing roughly 20 sets over the last 4 years with String Theory and a bunch of Leap of Faith variations, she has really nailed our aesthetic objectives.
For this session I filled the kitchen with tons of percussion instruments including dozens of Tibetan Bowls, Gongs, and the Brontosaurus Bell. We all used multiple instruments, so there is a great deal of development through different textures through the improvisation.
Here are some links to small format string edition Leap of Faith ensemble performances:
Order of Ramifications (with Elinor Spears)
Imaginary Mass (with Robert Flax)
Topological Constructions (with Mimi Rabson & Elinor Spears)
Thought Experiment (with Mimi Rabson)
bandcamp YouTube1 YouTube2
Zeno's Paradox (with Mimi Rabson)
Here are links to a few of the Archive (90s) period Leap of Faith trio sets with the core unit of that time: PEK, Glynis Lomon and bassist Craig Schildhauer...
Elliptical Eccentricity (with Craig Schildhauer)
Computations (with Craig Schildhauer)
Audio CD Evil Clown 9211
Leap of Faith
- Charge-Transfer Complex
bandcamp: streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
Squidco: CD Orders
Charge-Transfer Complex - 1:10:22
Evil Clown Headquarters ,Waltham MA
27 March 2019
PEK - clarinet & contralto clarinet, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, contrabassoon, wood flute, sheng, Melodica, daxophone, Korg MS-20, [d]ronin, wind siren, log drums, gongs, tibetan bowls, brontosaurus & tank bells, bells, rachet, wood, metal
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice
Mimi Rabson - violin, orchestral chimes, Tibetan Bowls, wood blocks, wood, metal
Yuri Zbitnov - shiny new drums, Tibetan bowls, gongs, brontosaurus & tank bells, glockenspiel