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 - Undulations of the Spatial Field
Livestreamed to YouTube
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA: 15 January 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 PEK and Lomon and we are regularly presenting LIVESTREAMs to YouTube from Evil Clown Headquarters with other guest performers.
This set was originally going to be a trio Expanse (the Evil Clown Ensemble featuring percussionist Michael Knoblach) set with guest Eric Woods, but Michael was unable to make the date and I asked Glynis to play instead. According to the Evil Clown Naming Conventions for ensembles, it became a Leap of Faith set. Eric has played in a bunch of the larger Leap of Faith Orchestra settings, but this is only his fourth appearance in a small LOF setting. This trio version of LOF debuted in February of 2020 (The Observed Present), right before the virus shut down. After we restarted the YouTube LIVESTREAMS last May, we did a quartet with drummer Steve Niemitz (Lattice) in June of 2021 and a quartet with guitarist Reverend Grant Beale (Loops of Gravitational Force) in September of 2021.
In the original days of Leap of Faith in the 90s, neither Glynis or I were interested in electronic sounds in improvisation. However, during the contemporary period, as we have explored large ensembles in the LOFO, Eric and others have brought electronics into a Leap of Faith setting. Eric has also been a key member Metal Chaos Ensemble which typically had included more rock elements then we ever have in Leap of Faith. Eric is aware of the early history of electronics in the classical music of Stockhausen and the other European electronics pioneers of the 50s and 60s, so he is prepared to use his considerable skills without relying on the repetitive rhythms that dominate so much of electronic music in the popular realm. This small format LOF trio blends acoustic and electronic sounds, borrowing from the Metal Chaos Ensemble aesthetic.
This is a strong set as I expected, 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.
Audio CD Evil Clown 9294
Leap of Faith - Undulations in the Spatial Field
bandcamp: streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
1) Undulations in the Spatial Field - 1:10:21
LIVESTREAMED to YouTube
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
15 January 2022
PEK - clarinet, contralto & contrabass clarinets, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, piccolo oboe, bass flute, sheng, novation peak, moog subsequent, Linnstrumnet, prophet, LFO Synths, theremin, 17 string bass, [d]ronin, spring & chime boxes, electric chimes, chimes, gongs, orchestral chimes, brontosaurus & tank bells, plate gong, Tibetan bowls, Englephone, almglocken, crotales, glockenspiel, log drums, wood blocks, temple blocks. balafon, xylophone, aquasonic, voice
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice
Eric Woods - modular analog synthesis, novation peak, moog subsequent, Linnstrument, log drums, wood blocks, chimes, almglocken, brontosaurus bell, gong
Excerpt from PEK Liner Notes
"... This set was originally going to be a trio Expanse (the Evil Clown Ensemble featuring percussionist Michael Knoblach) set with guest Eric Woods, but Michael was unable to make the date and I asked Glynis to play instead. According to the Evil Clown Naming Conventions for ensembles, it became a Leap of Faith set... This small format LOF trio blends acoustic and electronic sounds, borrowing from the Metal Chaos Ensemble aesthetic...."
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff