On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Liner Notes Excerpt by PEK
“… As I often do when there is a particularly strong session with a new configuration of players, Laws of Crystal Forms repeats the lineup from Revealing the Essence. The quartet certainly was in fine form here on our second session, and I will definitely schedule more sets in the future for this variation of Leap of Faith.…”
Audio CD Evil Clown 9289
Leap of Faith - Laws of Crystal Forms
streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
Livestreamed to YouTube
Evil Clown Headquarters, 26 February 2022
1) Laws of Crystal Forms - 1:10:22
PEK - clarinet, contralto & contrabass clarinets, sopranino, alto, & tenor saxophones, mussette, tarota, bass flute, accordion, [d]ronin, spring & chime boxes, electric chimes, chimes, orchestral chimes, flex-a-tone, brontosaurus & tank bells, gongs, plate gong, Tibetan bowls, Englephone, almglocken, crotales, glockenspiel, log drums, wood blocks, temple blocks. balafon, xylophone, seed pod rattle, orchestral castanets, crank siren
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice
Vance Provey - trumpet, gongs, balafon, xylophone, orchestral chimes, Tibetan bowls, bell tree, chimes
Michael Knoblach - frame drum, busy box drum, tank drum, enamel bowls, devil chasers axatse, abacuses, African rattles, Fischer Price toys, sheep shears, slinky, wooden billiards triangle. tit-fer, bells, antique child rattles, sand blocks, horses-ass-a-phone, basket of rocks, spooky world noise makers, spinning toy, acme siren whistle, mortar & pestle, large American percussion riq with wooden zils, lobster pot, atlantis gong, slinky, hand claps
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.
Liner Notes by PEK
Leap of Faith is the core duet of the Leap of Faith Orchestra (LOFO) comprised of PEK on clarinets, saxophones, clarinets & 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.
In March of 2020, just before the onset of the pandemic, I had a first session with a new percussionist, Michael Knoblach, entitled Main Sequence… Although Michael plays the drum set, in recent years he has been focused on mostly unusual percussion. This duet with the Evil Clown percussion arsenal along with instruments from Michael’s huge collection available enabled wonderful new sonority. Michael plays at a quieter mean dynamic than is typical for Evil Clown ensembles. Leap of Faith, in particular, has stretches of this quieter space in nearly every improvisation, but the mean dynamic is typically much louder. It was very interesting to focus an entire set on my lower volume vocabulary.
I first played with trumpeter Vance Provey at a show at pianist Eric Zinman’s Studio 234 last summer (2021) in a sextet with Eric, Stephen Haynes, Eric Rosenthal and Nate McBride. It was a great performance, and I immediately recruited Vance and Nate who had not previously played on an Evil Clown session for future performances. Since then, Vance has played on two Turbulence sets, and a Leap of Faith Set (Revealing the Essence). Turns out that Vance and Glynis go way back to their Bennington college days with trumpet genius Bill Dixon’s Black Music improvisation department where Glynis was a student and Vance was on the faculty (although not exactly at the same time). Glynis and Vance had not previously performed together, but both are part of the large scene in the Northeast of improvisors associated with Bill Dixon’s seminal program.
Revealing the Essence was an October 2021 quartet Leap of Faith session with Michael on his unusual percussion and Vance on trumpet as the guests joining Glynis and myself. It was an excellent set in at a quieter mean dynamic than Leap of Faith usually occupies. Following the excellent interaction of the horns on Eric’s session from a few months prior, Vance and I had tight interaction with a great deal of motivic interaction.
As I often do when there is a particularly strong session with a new configuration of players, Laws of Crystal Forms repeats the lineup from Revealing the Essence. The quartet certainly was in fine form here on our second session, and I will definitely schedule more sets in the future for this variation of Leap of Faith.
I really like this set, and I bet you will too…
Leap of Faith Orchestra performs
by Karl Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com
Leap of Faith - Laws of Crystal Forms
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA - 26 February 2022
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff