PEK Tweak of a Raffi Photo

Photos by Raffi


Leap of Faith Orchestra performs

Supernovae by PEK

by Karl  Ackermann,

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 

Leap of Faith Orchestra & Sub-Units

         Power Series Expansions

Third Life Studios, Somerville MA - 28 October 2017

Audio Double CD                    Evil Clown 9160

Leap of Faith Orchestra & Sub Units

     - Power Series Expansions

Third Life Studios, Somerville MA

28 October 2017
streaming, downloads and CD mail Order

Disc 1

    1) Sub Unit 1: Interval |X| - 15:28
    2) Sub Unit 2: Term by Term - 15:20

    3) Sub Unit 3: Partial Sums - 15:10
    4) Sub Unit 4: Radii of Convergence - 15:18
Disc 2
    5) Orchestra: Divergence to Infinity - 51:27

The fourth performance at Third Life Studios for this part of the overall Evil Clown project. A smaller orchestra, this time 10 players, perform a pure improvisation of 50 minutes duration. To open the show, we play 4 shorter (15 minute) trios/quartets by different Sub-Units...

We get two critical kinds of prep for the full orchestra performances of PEK scores: Concise improvisations by sometimes unique small cross sections of players from the roster and pure improvisations by the largest versions of Leap of Faith to perform without a score directing the development of the work. The only direction is for each player to lay out for about 1/3 of the total duration on the full length set... 

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

​​PEK - (1,4,5) clarinet, piccolo & contraalto clarinets, tenor & bass saxophones, tarota,

     contrabassoon, guanzi, metal, wood, crank siren, sheng, aquasonic, folk whistle, cymbells,

     crotales, melodica, fog horn, glockenspiel, hand chimes, crank siren, voice 
Glynis Lomon - (5) cello, aquasonic, voice
Yuri Zbitnov - (1,4,5)  drums, percussion, metal, wood, cymbells, crotales, glockenspiel, daiko,

     hand chimes. voice 
Dan O’Brien -  (2,5) tenor sax, clarinet & bass clarinet, flute 
Bob Moores - (3,5) trumpet, wood flute, hand chimes, wood, metal, percussion 
Kat Dobbins - (4,5) trombone
Grant Beale - (2,3,5) guitar, metal, wood

Eric Zinman - (4,5) piano, metal 
Silvain Castellano - (3,5) bass 
Kevin Dacey - (1,2,5) drums, percussion, metal, wood, cymbells, crotales, glockenspiel, hand