Leap of Faith - Irreducibility
Outpost 186, Cambridge MA - 15 September
Audio CD Evil Clown 9193
Leap of Faith - Irreducibility
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1) Irreducibility - 1:10:40
PEK - clarinet & contraalto clarinet, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, tarota, Contrabassoon, alto flute, goat horn, guanzi, sheng, melodica, aquasonic, metal, wood, voice
Glynis Lomon cello, aquasonic, voice
Yuri Zbitnov - drums, metal, hand claps, narration, narration, voice
Eric Zinman - piano, piano interior
Albey onBass - bass
Syd Smart - electronic percussion, narration
Liner Notes by PEK
Leap of Faith is the core trio of the Leap of Faith Orchestra (LOFO) comprised of PEK on clarinets, saxophones, clarinets & 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.
Glynis has another long term improvisation trio, the New Language Collaborative, with pianist Eric Zinman and percussionist Syd Smart. Both Eric and Syd go back in the Boston improvisation scene for decades and have done a lot of playing with us and others that we play with both recently and in the distant past. Earlier this year, we did an Outpost 186 show as a quartet with Eric on piano (Leap of Faith – Gravitation) and another with Syd on electronic percussion (Leap of Faith - Fractured Symmetries). Both also performed on the recent Leap of Faith Orchestra – Cosmological Horizons performance in July 2018 and many other Evil Clown projects.
Finally, we managed to get all of us open on the night of one of the OP186 residency dates and put it in the book. To get it to work I had to swap the September and October shows and do the next String Theory set in October. I had originally asked recent Evil Clown arrival Albey onBass if he could make this date for String Theory… Albey is a great electric bass player with connections to the Boston scene from long ago. He recently returned to the area from New Orleans and New York and joined our little collective. A few days before the show, Albey determined he would be able to do the show and so quintet became sextet.
I was very pleased with this set which features several narration sections which are unusual for Leap of Faith. The sextet did a great job of permutating through various instrumental combinations producing many sections with brief solos or duets as well the requisite full court press.
Irreducibility was recorded in performance at Outpost 186 in Cambridge MA where Evil Clown has a residency on the third Saturday of each month. For each performance we use a variation on the core Leap of Faith ensemble with guests or one of the other named Sub-Units of the LOFO: Metal Chaos Ensemble (the extended percussion section), Turbulence (the expanded horn section), String Theory (the expanded string section), or Mekaniks (featuring some electronic instruments, loops and signal processing).
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
On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - 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