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
Excerpt from PEK Liner Notes
“…This set demonstrates a key concept of Leap of Faith – the core unit with guests. Glynis, Bob and I have played many times together over the years and particularly in the last few years at Evil Clown Headquarters utilizing the Arsenal of auxiliary instruments. With such a solid core, it is easy for seasoned improvisors like Chris and Steve to join in and create deep improvisations which leverage the resources of instrumentation and personnel to create the unique and fascinating sound world of this particular Leap of Faith performance.”
----Liner Notes by PEK
Leap of Faith is the core duet of the Leap of Faith Orchestra (LOFO) comprised of PEK on clarinets, saxophones, double reeds & 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.
During my long hiatus through most of the 00s and some of the 10s, Glynis continued to be active in the improvisation scene, forming a trio (New Language Collaborative) with Eric Zinman on piano and Sydney Smart on drums that ran through that entire period until when Syd moved down to Brooklyn a few years ago. I played with Syd in the bands of the great Raqib Hassan in the early 90s, and he was a frequent guest of the first few Leap of Faith core ensembles during that time. Eric was one of the first improvisors from the Boston scene that I played with after moving to Boston to go to Berklee in 1989. We had a trio with trumpeter John Fugarino who has just recently started doing Evil Clown sessions. Berklee was a great experience, and I learned a lot about how regular jazz worked that I really wanted to understand, but it was a rotten place to study pure improvisation (apart from my work with George Garzone). I learned that by improvising with seasoned improvisers including these folks and others…
Trumpeter Ellwood Epps was born in Toronto and has lived in Montreal until he recently moved to the Boston area full time. For some time, he commuted back and forth between Montreal and Boston actively participated in the improvisation scenes of both areas. One of the Boston area projects he was involved in was as a frequent guest of NLC. I became aware of him by hearing his recordings with that unit although he also has a lot of other work. Before the Corona Virus, both the quartet NLC and Turbulence (the horn-focused Evil Clown Ensemble) played at Suddenfest Improvisation/Experimental Festival in Dorchester MA on 14 November 2019. I invited Ellwood to sit in on our set (Turbulence – Upheaval) and he predictably played extremely well!! That album, Upheaval, is a distinct item in the Evil Clown Catalog in that the only instruments played by the quintet are horns… Most of the time Turbulence also features the horn-players doubling percussion, electronics, or other instruments… Recently, Ellwood has become an Evil Clown regular, appearing on albums by both Leap of Faith and Turbulence.
Syd has been monitoring the Evil Clown Scene via my facebook and YouTube pages and we message every once in a while, on-line. A few months back, I suggested that we should do a NLC meets LOF set and he was interested! Turns out he was going to be in Boston for a wedding today, so after some wrestling with the schedule, we landed on yesterday as the date for this new recording, The Energy of Now. One of my facebook friends is Adrianna Amari who frequently posts amazing photos of nature on FB. A while back she captioned one of those photos, “The Energy of Now”. I immediately added this to my giant list of possible titles, and it ended up being assigned to this session. This seasoned ensemble with an enormous amount of interconnection with each other in various settings for over 35 years really connected in this new setting at ECH with house engineer Joel Simches really capturing the moment!
I like this Set and I bet you will too. Check it out!
Leap of Faith - Time & Symmetry Entwined
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA – 20 July 2022
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.
Audio CD Evil Clown 9316
Leap of Faith - Time and Symmetry Entwined
bandcamp: streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
1) Time and Symmetry Entwined- 1:10:03
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA – 20 July 2022
PEK - clarinet, contralto & contrabass clarinets, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, bass flute, sheng, tank cello, novation peak, moog subsequent, prophet, syntrix, Linnstrument controllers, 17 string bass, aquasonic, Englephone, [d]ronin, spring and chime rod boxes, Tibetan bowl, almglocken, crotales, orchestral chimes, gongs, plate gong, balafon, glockenspiel, log drums, wood blocks, temple blocks, chimes, orchestral anvils, baby bomb piano.
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice
Bob Moores – trumpet, flugelhorn, novation peak, moog subsequent, prophet, syntrix, Linnstrument controllers, 17 string bass, log drums, wood blocks, temple blocks, brontosaurus & tank bells, xylophone, baby bomb piano, tank cello, orchestral anvils, gongs, almglocken, [d]ronin, spring and chime rod boxes, Englephone, crank siren, voice
Chris Alford – guitar, signal processing, log drums, wood blocks, cymbals, brontosaurus & tank bells, Englephone, prophet, moog subsequent, Linnstrument controllers, [d]ronin, spring and chime rod boxes
Steve Skop - 5 string double bass
Joel Simches - Live to 2-track mix, real time signal processing