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.
PEK tweak of a raffi photo
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.
One of the common variations of Leap of Faith is a 3-horn quintet with the core unit plus two guest horn players. There are maybe about ten albums with this general format. This is a first session by a new variation of this ensemble. Trombonist Kat Dobbins, our special guest for this set, has performed on about half a dozen Evil Clown sessions from the LOFO performances of PEK Frame Notation Scores, Turbulence, and the LOFO & Sub-Units shows at Third Life Studio. She has a great sound and improvisational sensibility which are very welcome at Evil Clown whenever she can make time for us in her hectic schedule…
The second added horn is Evil Clown regular Bob Moores on trumpet, pic trumpet, and flugelhorn. Bob also plays the percussion instruments strewn throughout the studio.
This was originally scheduled to be a show at Outpost 186, the previous weekend. That day was blazing hot, nearly 100 degrees and humid. Although I hate to do it, I canceled the performance. Luckily, we were able to make up the show later that week at Evil Clown Headquarters. We’re doing LIVE STREAMING now for recording sessions at ECH, and this particular performance marks the debut of the new wall mounted cameras, which provide a much better camera angle and better lighting… For this show we used 4 cameras all fed to Raffi at the video mixer: Live mixed to YouTube!
Subscribe to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClfRlTeeHnSxRsJTkFakiJw/videos for notifications on future LIVE STREAMING events.
PEK – 7/27/19
Review Excerpt by Bruce Lee Gallanter
LEAP OF FAITH with PEK / GLYNIS LOMON / KAT DOBBINS / BOB MOORES / YURI ZBITNOV - Cosmic Distance Ladder (Evil Clown 9224; USA) Featuring PEK on saxes, clarinets, English horn, flute, sheng & assorted percussion; Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, Kat Dobbins on trombone, bells & bowls; Bob Moores on trumpets, crotales & balafon and Yuri Zbitnov on drums & assorted percussion. The three core members are here: PEK, Glynis Lomon & Yuri Zbitnov. Word is that Mr. Zbitnov will soon retiring from Leap of Faith & the offshoots. There are two newer members here: Bob Moores who has been on several (20?) recent LoF discs and Kat Dobbins, who has just joined the fold. In the beginning, we hear minimal percussion (gongs & cymbals), trombone & trumpet, floating together. This session was recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters and as with all discs on Evil Clown, the sound here is clean and warm, superbly balanced. Pek lays back here and allows the trombone, trumpet cello and drums to build and take off, slowly adding his reed instruments, one at a time or percussion, after a while. Things build slowly with one or two instruments erupting at a time, each musician carefully add to the ongoing flow. PEK moves to melodica midway, quietly interacting with just trumpet and cymbals or gongs. Both horn players here work well together, swirling their lines around one another, creating thoughtful harmonies and quirky counterpoint with the cello, reeds and percussion. This disc is around 64 minutes, a bit shorter than most discs on Evil Clown. It is consistently strong and inspired throughout. And it never goes too far out, great CD to start if you are just entering the world of Leap of Faith. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Leap of Faith - Cosmic Distance Ladder
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA - 25 July 2019
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff
Liner Notes Excerpt by PEK (Full Notes Below)
"...One of the common variations of Leap of Faith is a 3-horn quintet with the core unit plus two guest horn players. There are maybe about ten albums with this general format. This is a first session by a new variation of this ensemble. Trombonist Kat Dobbins, our special guest for this set, has performed on about half a dozen Evil Clown sessions from the LOFO performances of PEK Frame Notation Scores, Turbulence, and the LOFO & Sub-Units shows at Third Life Studio. She has a great sound and improvisational sensibility which are very welcome at Evil Clown whenever she can make time for us in her hectic schedule…"
On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Review Excerpt by Bruce Lee Gallanter (full text below)
"...PEK moves to melodica midway, quietly interacting with just trumpet and cymbals or gongs. Both horn players here work well together, swirling their lines around one another, creating thoughtful harmonies and quirky counterpoint with the cello, reeds and percussion. … consistently strong and inspired throughout. And it never goes too far out, great CD to start if you are just entering the world of Leap of Faith"
"The core trio of the Leap of Faith Orchestra comprising multi-reedist & wind player David Peck, also on percussive devices, with Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic and voice, and Yuri Zbitnoff on drums & percussions, with special guests Kat Dobbins on trombone and Bob Moores on trumpet & flugelhorn, in an evolving set of strong harmonic, percussive & lyrical interaction."
Audio CD Evil Clown 9224
Leap of Faith - Cosmic Distance Ladder
Squidco: CD Mail Order
Cosmic Distance Ladder - 1:04:22
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
25 July 2019
PEK - alto tenor & bass saxophones, clarinet & contralto clarinet, English horn, tromboon, Alto flute, sheng, melodica, Tibetan bells & bowls, gongs, balafon, castanets, brontosaurus & tank bells, wood blocks
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice, cymbells
Kat Dobbins - trombone, Tibetan Bells & bowls, castanets
Bob Moores, trumpet, pic trumpet, flugelhorn, cymbells, crotales, balafon, wood blocks, Englephone, Tibetan bells & bowls, metal. wind siren, taxi horn