Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter,
Downtown Music Gallery
LEAP OF FAITH ORCHESTRA & SUB UNITS With PEK / GLYNIS LOMON / CHARLIE KOHLHASE / ERIC ZINMAN / BOB MOORES / YURI ZBITNOV / et al - Differentiations (Evil Clown 9152; USA) The first disc of this 2 CD set features four sub-units from the Leap of Faith Orchestra, all quartets, around 15 minutes each. The first sub unit consists of PEK on numerous reeds & percussion, Charlie Kolhase on saxes, Zack Grass on bass trombone & tuba and John Baylies on tuba. This quartet of two reeds players and two tubas work with the lower end of drones and long suspended notes. I dig the slow moving sounds found here that cautiously evolve together as one ever-expanding organic sound/force. The 2nd sub-unit (SU) consists of Eric Zinman on piano, Bob Moores on trumpet, Grant Beale & Drew Wesely on guitars. Mr. Moores has been an active member of several versions of Leap of Faith and sounds great here weaving his muted and unmated sounds with Mr. Zinman’s spiraling free piano cascades, eventually taking a soft landing to more restrained conclusion. SU3 is Glynis Lomon on cello & aquasonics, Silvain Castellano on bass, Bob Moores on trumpet and Yuri Zbitnov on drums & percussion. Most of this piece is quiet yet busy with occasional eruptions from the cello and percussion. Trumpeter Bob Moores is in especially fine form in the second half, burning the voodoo down like Raphe Malik liked to do when he had the opportunity. SU4 is PEK, Lomon on cello, Kohlhase on saxes and Yuri on drums. Since this quartet consists of three LoF founders, although it is freely improvised, it is especially tight and spirited. The second disc is an eleven piece version of the Leap of Faith Orchestra, smaller than their two previous sets/recordings but no less amazing. PEK has been utilizing a timing device to help shape the improvisations of the orchestra, which set limits for subgroups as well. And even with eleven members, the orchestra sounds like there is some (hand?) directed improv. This version of LoF remind me of a body of water like the ocean, starting off calmly before the waves start crashing. Everyone builds together exchanging ideas, combining forces in different groupings. There are a number of spirited solos from Ms. Lomon on cello, Mr. Zinman on piano, PEK on multiple reeds and Bob Moores on trumpet. Another OUTstanding offering from Dave PEK and the ever-evolving Leap of Faith crew! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Photos by Raffi
Leap of Faith Orchestra & Sub-Units -
Third Life Studios, Somerville MA
22 July 2017
Disk 1: Sub-Unit Videos
"... This version of LoF remind me of a body of water like the ocean, starting off calmly before the waves start crashing. Everyone builds together exchanging ideas, combining forces in different groupings..."
- Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
2 Audio CDs Evil Clown 9152
Leap of Faith Orchesta & Sub-Units - Differentiations
streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
1) Sub-Unit 1: Chain Rule (15:35)
2) Sub-Unit 2: Power Rule (17:41)
3) Sub-Unit 3: Rate of Change (16:37)
4) Sub-Unit 4: Higher Orders (15:02)
5) Leap of Faith Orchestra: Differentiations (50:09)
Third concert at a new venue... Third Life Studios in Somerville! This is the small format Leap of Faith Orchestra performing pure improvisation with the largest ensemble without a score. For these shows we do a group of short sets by sub-units of the orchestra (this time four 15 minute quartets) and then a longer set (50 minutes) with everyone.
For Differentitations, I established just one rule - each player should lay out for 1/3 of the 50 minute duration... this simple rule was effective in guiding the improvisation through many different movements...
- PEK - 26 July 2017
PEK - clarinet & contraalto clarinet, sopranino, tenor & bass saxophones,
bassoon, contrabassoon, tarota, sheng, tromboon, daxophone, aquasonic,
metal, hand chimes, crank siren, crotales, cymbells (1,4,5)
Glynis Lomon - cello, aquasonic, voice (3,4,5)
Charlie Kohlhase - alto, tenor & baritone saxophones, metal (1,4,5)
Bob Moores - trumpet, metal, crotales, cymbells, hand chimes, crank siren
John Baylies - tuba, sousaphone, hand chimes (1,5)
Zack Grass - bass trombone, tuba, hand chimes (1,5)
Drew Wesely - guitar, electronics, hand chimes (2,5)
Silvain Castellano - bass (3,5)
Yuri Zbitnov - drums, balafon, glockenspeil, metal, 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 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
video grab tweak by PEK
Disk 2: Leap of Faith Orchcestra - Differentitaions Video