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
----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.
This is the first Leap of Faith set with this quintet lineup. There have been some changes to the Evil Clown roster over the pandemic. While many of the regulars are still around and have been participating in the LIVESTREAMING shows from Evil Clown Headquarters, some have changed up in one way or another and are no longer available. Likewise, I have some new players, and I have some that participated in the past and are now rejoining us. This is the first Evil Clown appearance by bassist Nate McBride, the second appearance by trumpeter Ellwood Epps who now lives in the Boston area and will be more available (Turbulence - Upheaval), and the third appearance by drummer Eric Rosenthal (who performed on two of the Form Notation scores for the Leap of Faith Orchestra).
Despite being a first set by this quintet, there are lots of cross connections within the Boston Improv scene. Of course, Glynis and I have played since forever, but Ellwood had been a frequent guest of Glynis’ other band the New Language Collaborative, and Nate and Eric have frequently played together in many different contexts. This is common when playing with seasoned improvisors in new settings. This ensemble sounds like it has played together many times, not one.
I’ve been looking forward to this session since I booked it. All three of the guest players stand out on their instruments and have significant credentials in the free jazz improvisation scene of the Boston area and beyond. None of them had been to Evil Clown Headquarters previously. I always enjoy when people come to my home studio for the first time. The set up of the extensive percussion equipment, the large number of my horns, and the 8-camera video mix is very rare and inevitably a great deal of fun for everyone, but especially newbies…
This is a strong set as I expected, especially since everyone is still very excited to be able to play music again with others. Stay tuned for a steady stream of new sets over the next few months from Leap of Faith and all the other active Evil Clown ensembles.
Leap of Faith - Meaning Arising
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA: 20 November 2021
----Review from Nick Ostrum, Squid's Ear
After a pandemic furlough that pushed PEK to a year of relentless solo exploration, Leap of Faith is back. Although this is not the unit's first release since reuniting, it is an especially strong one that speaks to the new life that has been breathed into the project. Here, the core duo of PEK (on reeds, percussion, strings and other instruments) and Glynis Lomon (cello, aquasonic and voice) are joined by relatively new additions Ellwood Epps (trumpet and percussion) and Eric Rosenthal (percussion) and, for the first time, Nate McBride (bass).
As one might expect with this line-up, Meaning Arising is a fiery set. PEK and Lomon have developed a telekinetic connection over their decades of collaboration and that bond remains as strong as ever. For her part, Lomon leans on some serious muted/distorted cello work and, in addition, lends her voice. She has sung before, but her work on this album really stands out. She is a talented vocalist, whose throaty, at points almost primal incantations wend beautifully around the cavernous soundscape that takes shape around her. They also add a human element that is often suppressed in PEK's system, which focuses more on sound gestation and bedlam than on the swing, scales and tunefulness of its ultimate free jazz inspiration. In a similar manner, the three musicians that fill out that central diploid add new, welcome elements to the abstract and increasingly futuristic computerized aesthetics that LoF has embraced recently. Rosenthal offers his understated but deliberate drumming, which nods to hard bop while it merges into the electro-acoustic windstorm whirling around it. Epps and McBride, however, really stuck out to me on this one. McBride, because of his rhythmic drive, which he has been forced to reign in somewhat. Epps, because of his lurching melodicism which, in brief fits, cuts through the largely depersonalized sonic mire. Although he can bend and squeak and huff with the best of them, he can also ride atop a groove that he picks out of the bubbling cauldron festering around him.
And then there is PEK. Through it all, he remains the organizer, the convener, the bandleader, and an essential sonic element in the ensemble. Despite his ubiquity, however, he refuses to step to the front. He is the glue but not the grandstander and his sound prints can be heard on every minute of this release.
Meaning Arising is a PEK effort and fits snugly into the aesthetic universe he has developed. As is all his ensemble work, however, this is a remarkably balanced effort wherein each individual, including the grandmaster himself, surrenders themself to the whole. Truly, an inspired effort all around, and one which will likely entice the converted and might even draw in a few new ones looking for new adventures in cosmic abstraction.
Audio CD Evil Clown 9290
Leap of Faith - Meaning Arising
bandcamp: streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
Squidco: CD Orders
1) Meaning Arising- 1:10:26
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
20 November 2021
PEK - clarinet, contralto & contrabass clarinets, sopranino & tenor saxophones, bass flute, tarota, medieval horn, goat horn, melodica, gongs, Englephone, brontosaurus & tank bells, Tibetan bowls, cowbells, almglocken, wood blocks, temple blocks, log drums, chimes, orchestral chimes, electric chimes, xylophone, balafon, castanets, glockenspiel, crotales, temple bell, [d]ronin, 17 string bass, chime & spring boxes, telstar, theremin, moogerfooger
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice
Ellwood Epps - trumpet. log drums, wood blocks, temple blocks, gongs, almglocken, brontosaurus bell, glockenspiel, orchestral chimes, crank siren
Nate McBride - double bass, 17 string electric bass, Englephone, balafon, almglocken, glockenspiel, seed pod rattle, Tibetan bells
Eric Rosenthal - drums, gong, crotales, Englephone
Joel Simches - live to 2-track recording, real time 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.
Excerpt from PEK Liner Notes
" ... I’ve been looking forward to this session since I booked it. All three of the guest players stand out on their instruments and have significant credentials in the free jazz improvisation scene of the Boston area and beyond. None of them had been to Evil Clown Headquarters previously. I always enjoy when people come to my home studio for the first time. The set up of the extensive percussion equipment, the large number of my horns, and the 8-camera video mix is very rare and inevitably a great deal of fun for everyone, but especially newbies… "
"A new quintet lineup for the long-running Boston collective Leap of Faith, expanding the core duet of David Peck on reeds & flutes and Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, with trumpeter Ellwood Epps, double bassist Nate McBride, drummer Eric Rosenthal, and transformed by live signal processing from Joel Simches, performing a powerful and extended post-pandemic concert."
Review Excerpt from Nick Ostrum, Squid's Ear
"… Meaning Arising is a PEK effort and fits snugly into the aesthetic universe he has developed. As is all his ensemble work, however, this is a remarkably balanced effort wherein each individual, including the grandmaster himself, surrenders themself to the whole. Truly, an inspired effort all around, and one which will likely entice the converted and might even draw in a few new ones looking for new adventures in cosmic abstraction.”