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
Leap of Faith - Cosmic String Loops
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA - 7 May 2022
Excerpt from PEK Liner Notes
“… Tom and Kit both had a great time on their first visit to the Evil Clown studio, and I’m hopeful that this String Edition of Leap of Faith will have more performances coming! I expected this to be a great set recalling String Theory and the early Leap of Faith string sessions, and I was not disappointed…”
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.
Audio CD Evil Clown 9306
Leap of Faith - Cosmic String Loops
bandcamp: streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
1) Cosmic String Loops - 1:13:04
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
7 May 2022
PEK - clarinet, contralto & contrabass clarinets, sopranino, tenor, & bass saxophones, bass flute, picolo oboe, tarota, mussette, sheng, novation peak, moog subsequent, Linnstrumnet, prophet, orchestral chimes, electric chimes, chimes, gongs, xylophone, balafon, [d]ronin, spring & chime boxes, plate gong, brontosaurus & tank bells, Tibetan bowls, almglocken, crotales, glockenspiel, log drums, wood blocks, temple blocks, voice
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, cymbells, voice
Tom Swafford - violin
Kit Demos - bass, gong, temple blocks, temple bell, bell tree
----Liner Notes by PEK
Leap of Faith is the core duet of the Leap of Faith Orchestra (LOFO) comprised of PEK on clarinets, saxophones, double reeds & flutes, and Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice. 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. At times, the core unit has been a trio or even a quartet. The longest running core unit was comprised of PEK, Glynis and drummer Yuri Zbitnov, who played for the last couple of years of the archival period and the first 5 years of the reboot starting in 2015. The ensemble has always been highly modular, and our many recordings (well over 100) feature the core unit in dozens of configurations with a huge list of guests and occasionally as only the core unit with no guests. Currently, the core unit is the duet of PEK and Lomon and we are regularly presenting LIVESTREAMs to YouTube from Evil Clown Headquarters with other guest performers.
The second Leap of Faith Core Unit (1995 – 1998) included PEK, Lomon and Craig Schildhuaer (double bass). During this period, we also did some sets with additional string players. Glynis and I both enjoyed playing in a multiple string player ensemble with no percussion and when the project fired up again, we created a separate project called String Theory for this idea since the Leap of Faith core unit at that time included Yuri at the drum set. Between 2015 and 2019, String Theory produced 13 albums with a variety of string player guests including Mimi Rabson, Tony Leva, Silvain Castellano, Jane Wang, Elinor Spears and other Boston notables.
Nowadays, since Yuri has withdrawn, a unit with this configuration is credited to Leap of Faith instead of String Theory… Just before the pandemic, Leap of Faith did a performance as a trio with drummer Steve Niemitz at Bonnie Kane’s Friday night experience in western Mass. On the bill with us was a stunning solo violin performance by Tom Swafford. As I always do, I immediately moved to recruit Tom for some Evil Clown sessions. He was living in NYC at the time, but was planning a move to Providence RI after 6 months or so. Of course, the stupid virus kicked in, and now, almost 2 ½ years later, we are finally getting to this long-anticipated set.
We had originally discussed a trio, but I had recently discovered that double bass wiz Kit Demos was interested in doing some Evil Clown sets and he was available for this session. Kit and Glynis have played together before, and Kit performed on Possible Universes, one of my Leap of Faith Orchestra scores for improvised orchestra performed at the Somerville Armory in May 2017. As often happens with very busy strong players, especially bassists and drummers who are highly in demand, Kit has been an infrequent contributor. He’s great, so I’m super glad that he is into it and willing to drive down from southern Maine to join us.
Tom and Kit both had a great time on their first visit to the Evil Clown studio, and I’m hopeful that this String Edition of Leap of Faith will have more performances coming! I expected this to be a great set recalling String Theory and the early Leap of Faith string sessions, and I was not disappointed…