On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... ​using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation."   - Squidco website staff

Leap of Faith - Unbounded Sets

Nave Gallery, Somerville MA: 4 June 2016

Spectrum, NYC: 5 May 2017

“...  The music here is free improv, focused and spirited, a fascinating dialogue is taking place and evolving…  There is a good deal of serious listening going on as the quintet display some shrewd, ever-evolving interaction…  Another set of strong musical medicine by the witch-doctors of sonic travel.”

- Bruce Lee Gallanter - Downtown Music Gallery


Leap of Faith Orchestra performs

Supernovae by PEK

by Karl  Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com

Second Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter

     -  Downtown Music Gallery

 LEAP OF FAITH With PEK / GLYNIS LOMON / STEVE NORTON / ANDRIA NICODEMOU / DAN O’BRIAN / ZACH BARTOLOMEJ / YURI ZBITNOV - Unbounded Sets (Evil Clown 9140; USA) This disc captures two versions of relatively recent Leap of Faith from June of 2016 and May of 2017. “Dark Energies” features core members PEK, Ms. Lomon, Mr. Norton (who has since left the band), Mr. Zbitnov plus guest vibist Andria Nicodemou, who has turned up on several Leap of Faith discs over the past year or so. This set was record live at the Nave Gallery in Somerville, MA. This set opens with a layer of small percussion sounds, cymbals, metals, aquasonics (a bowed metal vase), creating an ethereal floating world. Soon cello and reeds enter as the density thickens a bit. The personnel/instrumentation is: PEK - reeds, double reeds & daxophone, Steve Norton on saxes & clarinets, Glynis Lomon on cello, Andria Nicodemou on vibes and Yuri Zbitnov on drums & percussion. Plus everyone joins in on percussion, metals & at times, vocal sounds. This music unfolds in a systematic and organic way, and has a ritualistic vibe. 

   “Unbound Sets” was recorded at the Spectrum, on a rare visit to NYC in May of 2017. The personnel here is the current quintet version of Leap of Faith with core members: PEK (reeds, etc), Glynis Lomon (cello) & Yuri Zbitnov (drums & percussion plus newer members: Dan O’Brien & Zack Bartolomei on various reeds. I attended this set myself and remember it capturing that unique Leap of Faith cosmic vibe, which some of us have come to appreciate. Once again beginning quietly with rustling reeds, cello and restrained waves of percussion. The music here is free improv, focused and spirited, a fascinating dialogue is taking place and evolving. At the bottom end of the sonic spectrum, Ms. Lomon’s cello and Mr. Zbitnov’s drums create a cushion of intense interaction. The three reeds take their time and also create another layer of conversation, low end drones (bass sax or contrabassoon) with the other two reeds circling above. There is a good deal of serious listening going on as the quintet display some shrewd, ever-evolving interaction. The entire set is always moving forward in one direction, expanding and contracting, building in intensity and then slowing down. There are a number of righteous moments of restraint which balance the flow just right. Another set of strong musical medicine by the witch-doctors of sonic travel.

     - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG

Audio CD                                              Evil Clown 9140

Leap of Faith - Unbounded Sets
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1) Dark Energies (20:18)

   Opening set for Leap of Faith Orchestra - The Expanding Universe

   Nave Gallery, Somerville MA - 4 June 2016

PEK - tenor sax, clarinet, alto & contraalto clarinets, contrabassoon, 
          dulzaina, sheng, metal, daxophone, aquasonic, game calls
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice, wood

Steve Norton- sopranino & alto & baritone saxes, bass &

          contraalto clarinets

​Andria Nicodemou - vibes, bells, crotales, metal
Yuri Zbitnov - drum set, wood, metal​

Photos by Shirley Grohs & Video Grabs 

Evil Clown 


Video Grab

Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter

     -  Downtown Music Gallery

LEAP OF FAITH With PEK / GLYNIS LOMON / STEVE NORTON / ANDRIA NICODEMOU / YURI ZBITNOV + DAN O’BRIEN / ZACH BARTOLOMEI - Unbounded Sets (Evil Clown 9140; USA) This disc shows features two different sides of Leap of Faith with one set from Somerville, MA on June 4 of 2016 and a very recent set from just last week at Spectrum in NYC on May 5th of 2017. The main difference is/was the recent departure of longtime member Steve Norton (on sopranino, alto & bari saxes & clarinets) who plays on the earlier set with addition of two younger reeds players: Dan O’Brien on flutes, clarinets & tenor sax and Zach Bartolomei on soprano & alto sax, clarinet & percussion.

The first set starts off quietly with Ms. Lomon’s hypnotic bowed cello, subtle percussion, vibes, an organic interweaving of several reeds, double-reeds… This must be the most laid-back of the many sets of Leap of Faith that I’ve caught or reviewed. The second set which I attended a few weeks back was also one of the more the restrained sets I’ve caught and was captured in the small, cosy setting of the Spectrum, just 1 subway stop away from the store. Again, this was a relaxed, calm set at first, slowly building its way amongst ruins of our current (not so) civilization. The three reeds players work well together with their kaleidoscopic, ever shifting blend of various reeds. Consistently engaging yet still holding back and never giving in to unnecessary extremes. This was one of their best sets and not to hard to swallow.

     - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG

2) Unbound Sets  (51:01)
          Specturm, New York NY - 5 May 2017

PEK - clarinet, contra-alto clarinet, tenor & bass saxophones,    

          tarota, contra-bassoon, aquasonic, metal, wood, hand chimes,

          wind & crank sirens, slide whistle, fog horns, taxi horn
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice, hand chimes
Yuri Zbitnov - drum set, metal​, crotatles, hand chimes
Dan O’Brien - tenor saxophone, clarinet & bass clarinet, flute,

          hand chimes, whistle 
Zach Bartolomei - soprano & alto saxophones, clarinet, hand

          chimes, crotales

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.

On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG