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 Space Photo
Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
LEAP OF FAITH [PEK / GLYNIS LOMON / GRANT BEALE / YURI ZBITNOV] - Dynamical Systems (Evil Clown 9148; USA) Featuring Dave PEK on clarinets, saxes, double-reeds, etc, Glynis Lomon on cello, vocals & aquasonics, Grant Beale on guitar and Yuri Zbitnov on drums & metal. This is the smallest version of Leap of Faith (LoF) to play live in recent memory, just the basic quartet with three founding members: PEK, Lomon & Zbitnov plus a newer member, Grant Beale on guitar. This was recorded at Outpost 186 in Cambridge in June of 2017. This disc/set begins quietly, spaciously, slowly evolving from humble beginnings. Patience and introspection is required for this one since things evolve so slowly here.
Often the central figure in many of the Leap of Faith performances is drummer/percussionist Yuri Zbitnov. His subtle yes busy flourishes keeps things here focused and fascinating. As things begin to escalate, intense eruptions start to take place. What is different about this disc is that there have been very few guitarists involved with LoF and I like the way that newcomer Grant Beale listens, not adding anything until he feels the time is right which takes a while to get there. Like their two sets at DMG, Leap of Faith, are an acquired/informed taste. There is sometimes incredible going on here, you just have to unwind and go with the flow. When PEK begins to play one of his double-reeds, he has a way of blending several different worlds into one vision. There are three more new Leap of faith discs in stock this week which I hope to review next week when I have the time. - Bruce Lee Gallanter,DMG - 8/3/2017
Leap of Faith Orchestra performs
by Karl Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com
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 - Dynamical Systems
Outpost 186, Cambridge MA: 17 June 2017
"Like their two sets at DMG, Leap of Faith, are an acquired/informed taste. There is sometimes incredible going on here, you just have to unwind and go with the flow...."
- Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
Photos by Raffi
Audio CD Evil Clown 9148
Leap of Faith - Dynamical Systems
streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
1) Dynamical Systems - 1:10:10
Outpost 186, Cambridge MA - 17 June 2017
PEK - clarinet, piccolo clarinet & contraalto clarinet, tenor & bass
saxophones, oboe, contrabassoon, guanzi, dulzaina, tarota, sheng,
aquasonic, daxophone, tromboon, hand chimes, metal
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice
Grant Beale - guitar
Yuri Zbitnov - drums, metal, hand chimes