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.
----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.
When a particular lineup for a Leap of Faith set works particularly well, we repeat that lineup. One such lineup that has had 4 performances to date is a core trio of PEK, Glynis Lomon and Eric Woods on Modular Analog Synthesis. The four prior releases are: Undulations in the Spatial Field (1/15/22), Loops of Gravitational Force (w/ Reverend Grant Beale) (9/25/21), Lattice (w/ Steve Niemitz) (6/27/21), and The Observed Present (2/15/20).
In the archival Leap of Faith period, both Glynis and I were mainly interested in improvisation in acoustic ensembles. Occasionally, there would be some signal processing on acoustic instruments from someone in the ensemble, but mostly we played with strings, horns, percussion, piano, etc. After the hiatus, when I restarted Evil Clown, I was interested in using a far broader pallet and more electronic instruments and signal processing gradually made their way into the process. I had been looking for an analog synthesist when I ran into Eric at a show I was on with Greg Grinnell’s project, Mission Creep. Eric knows the deep history of the origins of electronic music in the classical scene of the 50s and 60s in Europe. Composers like Pierre Henry, Stockhausen and others revealed a whole new sound world which has been under development for over half a century.
Anyway, since that time Eric has been a core member of Metal Chaos Ensemble and has participated in many sessions by the other bands. The first trio (The Observed Present) showed the potential of combining the Leap of Faith improvisation concept with a strong electronic presence, and the trio and quartet sets that followed confirmed it.
This session is a new extension of this trio with the string and horn sections expanded to make a sextet. Relative newcomer to Evil Clown Vance Provey joins on trumpet while Evil Clown regular Michael Caglianone joins on saxophones. The venerable Albey onBass joins on the upright electric bass. Albey is now on over 20 of Evil Clown releases and I get him on as many sessions as I can… Albey and Glynis together form a fabulous string section!!
This may be the best set yet by this variation of Leap of Faith… I really like it, and I bet you will too…
Leap of Faith - Quantum Jitters
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA: 9 April 2022
Audio CD Evil Clown 9302
Leap of Faith - Quantum Jitters
bandcamp: streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
1) Quantum Jitters - 1:10:07
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
9 April 2022
PEK - clarinet & contralto clarinets, sopranino, alto, & tenor, bass flute, shenai, medieval horn, novation peak, moog subsequent, Linnstrumnet, prophet, LFO Synths, theremin, moogerfooger, daxophone, [d]ronin, spring & chime boxes, electric chimes, chimes, gongs, plate gong, brontosaurus & tank bells, plate gong, Tibetan bowls, almglocken, crotales, glockenspiel, log drums, wood blocks, temple blocks
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice
Vance Provey- trumpet, crotales, glockenspiel, Tibetan bowls
Michael Caglianone - soprano, alto & tenor saxophones
Eric Woods - modular analog synthesis, Englephone
Albey onBass - electric upright bass, log drums, brontosaurus bell, temple blocks, chimes, novation peak
Joel Simches - live to 2-track recording, real time signal processing
Excerpt from PEK Liner Notes
" ... Anyway, since that time Eric has been a core member of Metal Chaos Ensemble and has participated in many sessions by the other bands. The first trio (The Observed Present) showed the potential of combining the Leap of Faith improvisation concept with a strong electronic presence, and the trio and quartet sets that followed confirmed it.This session is a new extension of this trio with the string and horn sections expanded to make a sextet. Relative newcomer to Evil Clown Vance Provey joins on trumpet while Evil Clown regular Michael Caglianone joins on saxophones. The venerable Albey onBass joins on the upright electric bass. … "
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff