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

Evil Clown 

Audio CD                                       Evil Clown 9323

Leap of Faith Chinese Orchestra

        - Bounded & Finite Extents

bandcamp:  streaming, downloads and CD mail Order


1) Bounded & Finite Extents- 1:10:27

   Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA - 1 September 2022


PEK - clarinet, contralto & contrabass clarinets, sopranino, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, bass flute, tarota, sheng, melodica, [d]ronin, 17-string bass, chime and spring boxes, gongs, plate gong, crotales, glockenspiel, rachet

Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice, hand claps

Jimmy Zhao - ban hu, jing hu, zhui hu, gong
Yazhi Guo - suona, xun, dizi,  guanzi, soprano sax, hulusi, sheng, cymbal, voice
Tao He - erhu, gau hu, zhong hu
Tom Swafford - violin
Kit Demos - double bass
Steve Skop - double bass
Michael Knoblach - frame drum, busy box drum, tank drum, enamel bowls, devil chasers axatse, abacuses, African rattles, Fischer Price toys, sheep shears, slinky, wooden billiards triangle, tit-fer, bells, antique child rattles, sand blocks, horses-ass-a-phone, basket of rocks, spooky world noise makers, spinning toy, acme siren whistle, mortar & pestle, lobster pot, Atlantis gong, udu drum

Review:

Leap of Faith Orchestra performs

Supernovae by PEK

by Karl  Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com

Excerpt from PEK Liner Notes  

“… Large improvisation ensembles create a tricky aesthetic problem.  Without preplanning, many times big impov bands generate a wall-of-sound, which as it continues, does not display much development.  My broad palette approach, along with a general direction to the players to spend about a third of the total duration laying out, is designed to address this difficulty.  With the musicians changing instruments and the ensemble size shrinking and swelling throughout the work, the sonority undergoes dramatic transformation, the sequence of which is the form of the piece emergent from the decisions of the improvisors…”


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

2

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 Chinese Orchestra - 

         Bounded and Finite Extents

LIVESTREAMED to YouTube

Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA – 1 September 2022


YouTube

video grabs

​​​----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.

Due to the pandemic, and the associated lack of appropriate venue for larger ensembles, the Leap of Faith Orchestra has not performed in a while.  Generally, I add Orchestra to the name of any of the ensembles when the group is 8 or more performers, so this session with 9 players counts.  Our very special guests for this set are Jimmy Zhao, Yazhi Gao and Tao He on Chinese instruments.  Jimmy has been on two Evil Clown recordings for the Expanse Meets the JMDE Quartet albums (Scope and Span).  For those performances, he brought a broad range of Chinese Instruments and a few Western ones…  The rest of the performers besides Michael Knoblach on percussion and myself on my usual arsenal are all strings (Glynis Lomon – vc, Tom Swafford – vln, Kit Demos – b, Steve Skop – b).  While Yuri Zbitnov was in the core Leap of Faith, String Theory is the name of the ensemble when Glynis and I performed without the drum set and with other string players.  Bounded and Finite Extents is conceptually the offspring of String Theory plus the Chinese guests and Michael on his unusual collection of percussion.  For this edition of the LOFO I have titled the ensemble the Leap of Faith Chinese Orchestra…  Not because it is like a traditional Chinese Orchestra, but because it is Leap of Faith Orchestra with a strong Chinese element.

Large improvisation ensembles create a tricky aesthetic problem.  Without preplanning, many times big impov bands generate a wall-of-sound, which as it continues, does not display much development.  My broad palette approach, along with a general direction to the players to spend about a third of the total duration laying out, is designed to address this difficulty.  With the musicians changing instruments and the ensemble size shrinking and swelling throughout the work, the sonority undergoes dramatic transformation, the sequence of which is the form of the piece emergent from the decisions of the improvisors.

I had really been looking forward to this set and I was not disappointed…  Everyone had their big ears on and really listened to each other.  The combination of Evil Clown regulars with newbies and relative newbies from very different cultural origins really produced a striking and unique contribution to the Leap of Faith Orchestra’s catalog.

I really like this set, and I bet you will too…

PEK 9/2/2022