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.
Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter,
Downtown Music Gallery
LEAP OF FAITH with PEK / GLYNIS LOMON / JIM WARSHAUER / ERIC DAHLMAN / YURI ZBITNOV - Crumpled Dimensions (Evil Clown 9229; USA) Featuring PEK on clarinet, sopranino, alto, tenor & bass saxes, musette, flute, sheng & percussion, Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, Jim Warshauer on alto & tenor sax, bass clarinet, whistles, etc., Eric Dahlman on trumpet, game calls, synth & piano and Yuri Zbitnov on drums & percussion. Leap of Faith is a Boston-area based collective led by multi-reeds wizard, Dave PEK. There are two other key members here, cellist Glynis Lomon and Yuri Zbitnov. The other two musicians here, Jim Warshauer and Eric Dahlmen can be found on a handful of other Evil Clown releases. This disc was recorded live at the Outpost in Cambridge, MA in September of 2019. This disc starts off with a suspense-filled vibe, eerie floating sounds, hushed cello, simmering reeds, ghostly trumpet and soft cerebral percussion. Things build ever so slowly, carefully, one or two instruments at a time. There are a number of inspired moments here: a terrific trumpet solo erupts early on and much strong interplay between different instruments. One the main things I dig about anything then PEK and his many Leap of Faith projects is that each member gets a chance to stretch out and is always respectful of who else is playing at the time. Solos often emerge out different group interaction, as each member shifts between the different instruments of their choice, one or two at a time. One great section is a phenomenal drum solo from longtime LoF member, Yuri Zbitnov. Word is that Mr. Zbitnov, who is often the magic ingredient, the rudder of USS Leap of Faith, is soon to retire from the band. He will sorely missed. This is yet another great disc from the Leap of Faith series.
- Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PEK tweak of a Catherine Hammond photo
Audio CD Evil Clown 9229
Leap of Faith - Crumpled Dimensions
Crumpled Dimensions - 1:10 25
Outpost 186, Cambridge MA
21 September 2019
PEK - clarinet, sopranino, bamboo soprano, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, mussette, contrabassoon, tromboon, bamboo flute, game calls, sheng, melodica, slide whistle, Chinese gong, rattles, bells, castanets, taxi horn
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice
Jim Warshauer - alto & tenor saxophones, bass clarinet, whistles, game calls, rattles, flex-a-tone
Eric Dahlman - trumpet, game calls, Korg Monotron synth, piano
Leap of Faith - Crumpled Dimensions
Outpost 186, Cambridge MA - 21 September 2019
Excerpt From Bruce Lee Gallanter Review
“... This disc starts off with a suspense-filled vibe, eerie floating sounds, hushed cello, simmering reeds, ghostly trumpet and soft cerebral percussion. Things build ever so slowly, carefully, one or two instruments at a time… This is yet another great disc from the Leap of Faith series...”
"The core Leap of Faith trio of David Peck (PEK) on winds & percussion, Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, and Yuri Zbitnov on drums & percussion, a subunit of Boston's Leap of Faith Orchestra, is joined by Jim Warshauer (reeds) and Eric Dahlman (trumpet, overtone voice) for an exciting and far-ranging improvisation of exotic instrumentation and intention."
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.
For this performance the core trio is joined by Jim Warshauer (reeds) and Eric Dahlman (trumpet, overtone voice). Eric and Jim have a long history together and joined the Evil Clown Roster towards the beginning of 2018 as I was raising the ensemble for Leap of Faith Orchestra performs Cosmological Horizons by PEK (which was performed in July).
I love it when great players come to Evil Clown in groups with long prior histories. Their common experience enhances the deep roots of many of our various ensemble permutations. Eric and Jim fit in right away and have each performed on over half a dozen sets with Leap of Faith, Leap of Faith Orchestra and Turbulence in the last year!
As the Leap of Faith story unfolds, we have some ensemble variations which gel deeply and bear repeating. This is the third performance by this particular quintet version of Leap of Faith. See below for links to audio and video of the first two: Proof Theory, and Potential and Actual Infinities. There are also other performances in larger units (including the scored performances of Cosmological Horizons and The Photon Epoch) which feature Eric and Jim.
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PEK – 9/22/2019
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff