On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff
Liner Notes by PEK
Metal Chaos Ensemble was formed in early 2015 by PEK and Yuri Zbitnov as a working project to explore chaotic rhythms on metallic instruments. I had started to amass the Evil Clown Arsenal of percussion, electronic and wind instruments and we needed a workshop to develop this universe of sounds for the Leap of Faith Orchestra. It was immediately obvious that Metal Chaos Ensemble had a sound to itself and over the last three years has been one of the most prolific Evil Clown ensembles. We have produced a bunch of albums covering a wide range of sonority sets, but always with the presence of Gongs, chimes, glockenspiel, Tibetan Bowls and many other metallic sounds and the horns of PEK. All Metal Chaos Ensemble sessions include at least myself and Yuri, along with a whole bunch of different guests.
Recently, I have been using the Ableton software to create electronic mixes which we use in several of the bands as an accompaniment track. In performance, I ride the fader from off to very present, but most of the time more to the background. Raw samples are taken from the Evil Clown Catalog and also specially recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters with instruments drawn from the Evil Clown arsenal. I then use Adobe Audition to process the samples and finally Ableton to assemble a timeline and create a mix. Most of the more recent MCE sessions use one of these mixes.
Yuri and his wife Shirley were in Europe the last couple of weeks for their 25th anniversary!! Congratulations Yuri and Shirley... When they got back Tuesday, their car was konked out, and with the session the next day there was not time to get it working before the set... So, since I hate to cancel anything, the planned MCE trio session became duet. Yuri and I have done a number of MCE duet sessions in the last few years, but this was a bit different with Steve Niemitz holding down the drum chair instead.
Metal Chaos Ensemble is the main Evil Clown collaboration between Yuri and myself, and while the ensembles have varied enormously with a huge host of different guests on these sessions, Yuri and I have both been on all of them until now. So, I was a bit torn about whether this variation should be called Metal Chaos Ensemble or perhaps I should call the band Sub-Unit Number One, which is my band name for an Evil Clown Ensemble that does not fit well into one of the named units. After performing the set and listening back, I came to the conclusion that since I planned for a MCE set and we used the same rig as an MCE set, and most importantly, the critical aesthetic goals of MCE were well in evidence in the final product, I decided to call the band Metal Chaos Ensemble even though we missed Yuri...
Steve is a welcome newcomer to the Evil Clown roster. He’s been around the Boston scene and played with many of the improvisers that we have played with. He first joined us a few months ago in the 4 man percussion section for Leap of Faith Orchestra - Cosmological Horizons and did a Third Life show with Leap of Faith Orchestra & Sub-Units. This duet gave us a chance to work in a smaller setting - Just the two of us plus my Ableton Mix. This is a killer mix made up from samples from PEK Solo - The Unreality of Time, recorded just last week at Evil Clown Headquarters…
On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PEK tweak of a Raffi Photo
Metal Chaos Ensemble
- Emergent Syntax
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA - 10 October 2018
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.
Audio CD Evil Clown 9195
Metal Chaos Ensemble
- Emergent Syntax
1) Emergent Syntax 1:16:00
PEK - sopranino, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, clarinet & contra-alto clarinet, Engilsh horn, tarota, contrabassoon, guanzi, sheng, melodica, game calls, [d]ronin, orchestral chimes, brontosaurus & tank bells, brake drums, gongs, wind siren, gongs, bells, Tibetan bowls, metal, log drums, wood blocks, wood, Korg MS20, Ableton mix
Steve Niemitz - drums, daiko, gongs, brontosaurus & tank bells, brake drums, rachet, orchestral chimes, bells, Tibentan bowls, glockenspiel, crotales, cymbells, hand chimes, log drums, balafon, wood blocks
*Samples from PEK Solo - The Unreality of Time (Evil Clown 9194)