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.
Leap of Faith - Spectral Sequences
Lilypad, Cambridge MA: 26 March 2022
----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.
Before the pandemic, I ran into a fellow named Alex Lemski who produces the Creative Music Series in the Boston area. Turns out he’s been here doing that for more than 5 years and did it previously in Colorado for a dozen years or so. He came to a Leap of Faith Orchestra & Sub-Units show at Third Life Studios a year or so before the pandemic and we connected. Last fall we discussed Leap of Faith making an appearance on one of his bills and we selected a date in March 2022 for that show.
Around the same time, I did a set at Eric Zinman’s Studio 234 with Eric (piano), Steve Haynes (tp), Vance Provey (tp), Nate McBride (b) and Eric Rosenthal (d). That performance was a lot of fun, and I immediately recruited Vance and Nate for Evil Clown projects. Eric had appeared on several Leap of Faith Orchestra performance of my Frame Notation scores. Anyway, I scheduled an Evil Clown Headquarters Livestreaming session for a quintet of Me, Glynis, Vance, Nate and Eric which was released as Meaning Arising. Vance was not able to make this set ultimately, and I got Ellwood Epps to sub on trumpet. At the end of this session, I asked these players if they would do the same quintet for the CMS show and they agreed. Shortly after that I was talking with Albey onBass, who now is frequently in Boston as well as his New York haunts. Albey agreed to join in on the performance giving us an amazing string section with Glynis on the cello and two bassists…
Ironically, a few days before the performance, Ellwood hurt his lip and had to withdraw… Luckily Vance was available to sub and I had him signed up within a matter of hours after hearing from Ellwood. The set was amazing and well attended thanks to the extensive publicity driven by Alex. Look for more sessions in the future from this Leap of Faith Lineup but with both trumpet players. I’m looking forward to this next set with three horns, three strings and percussion.
Audio CD Evil Clown 9301
Leap of Faith - Spectral Sequences
bandcamp: streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
1) Spectral Sequences- 1:04:51
Lilypad, Cambridge MA
26 March 2022
PEK - clarinet & contrabass clarinets, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, tarota, bass ocarina, bass tromboon, goat horn, melodica, gongs, Tibetan bowls & bells, almgocken, whistle
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice
Vance Provey- trumpet, flugelhorn
Albey onBass - electric upright bass
Nate McBride - double & electric basses
Eric Rosenthal - drums
Leap of Faith Orchestra performs
by Karl Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com
Excerpt from PEK Liner Notes
" ... Ironically, a few days before the performance, Ellwood hurt his lip and had to withdraw… Luckily Vance was available to sub and I had him signed up within a matter of hours after hearing from Ellwood. The set was amazing and well attended thanks to the extensive publicity driven by Alex. … "
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff