On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
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 six years has been one of the most prolific Evil Clown ensembles. We have produced over 50 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.
Over time, a more-or-less fixed sextet has emerged with me on narration, horns and percussion, Mike Caglianone on saxes, Bob Moores on space trumpet, guitar and electronics, Mike Gruen on electric bass and Steve Niemitz on drums and percussion. Joel Simches rounds out the project with his live to 2-track mix and real-time signal processing. For this particular set, Mike C was not able to make it, so we did this as a quintet.
This MCE configuration is the most rock-leaning Evil Clown ensemble with extended groove sections and prominent electronics. Steve, who has taken over the drum chair from Yuri, decided to premiere the Chaos Kit for this set. The Chaos Kit replaces the drum set with metal objects instead of skinned percussion. We did integrate my large Daiko drum into the set to serve the role of the bass drum and to give the set a bottom end.
This MCE configuration is the most rock-leaning Evil Clown ensemble with extended groove sections and prominent electronics.
PEK – 9/18/2021
Leap of Faith Orchestra performs
by Karl Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com
Audio CD Evil Clown 9283
Metal Chaos Ensemble - Inferno
bandcamp: streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
1) Inferno- 1:11:31
Livestreamed to YouTube
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA - 1/10/2019
PEK - clarinet & contralto clarinets, sopranino, alto & tenor saxophones, christmans flute, bass tromboon, melodica, imperium LFO synth, [d]ronin, spring boxes, chime rod boxes, electric chimes, electric kalimba, Tibetan bells, gongs, brontosaurus & tank bells, wind siren, slide whistle, orchestral castanets, electric upright bass, Narration
Bob Moores - space trumpet, flugelhorn, baritone electric guitar, efx, soft synthesizers on laptop, cracklebox, ampkit, mini-synth
Eric Woods- Analog Sybthesis
Mike Gruen - electric bass
Steve Niemitz - Chaos Kit, daiko, Englephone, brake drums, wood blocks, log drums, brontosaurus and tank bells, cow bells, gongs, plate gong, glockenspiel, almglocken, orchestral chimes
Joel Simches - real time signal processing and live to 2-track mix
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.
Review from Darren Bergstein, Downtown Music Gallery
METAL CHAOS ENSEMBLE - Inferno (Evil Clown 9283; USA) More spellbinding razzledazzle from the Evil Clown family of sonic provocateurs, this time courtesy of the multi-limbed Metal Chaos Ensemble. “Led” by EC label impresario Dave PEK hoisting up high his usual mind-melting array of instruments, on this go ‘round the Ensemble also comprises Bob Moores (space trumpet, flugelhorn, baritone electric guitar, efx, soft synths, etc.), Eric Woods (analog synthesis), Mike Gruen (signal processing, purple sparkles electric bass), and Steve Niemitz (Chaos kit, various drums, bells, and other percussive paraphernalia), in addition to recording engineer Joel Simches, who endeavors to prevent the whole enterprise from falling in to the abyss and provides additional real-time signal processing. All told, this is another walk in the wild woods, a massive, marathon mess o’ sound that is at once overwhelming, cathartic, demanding, exhausting, and exhilarating. Facile descriptors for this music simply don’t apply here: such notions as ‘jazz’, ‘improv’, or ‘avantism’ are merely fading signposts that act only as off-the-cuff categorical pin-drops. This is true experimental music that along its hour-plus duration deconstructs everything you know about sound and reorients it in ways most of us could scarcely contemplate, much less actualize. Between the gusty derecho of synthesis, the fusillade of clanging metals, the airbursts of brass and woodwinds, and everything in between, PEK and Co. essentially mandate we change our methods of listening, even when bludgeoning us about the head with their blustery blurts of sound. Occasionally PEK speaks in a biblical, Burroughsian tongue whose narrative threads a malevolence reflected in the diabolus in musica splattering before our ears, lending an arch, theatrical, sidelong weight to a music often lacking in such elements. Be careful ye who enter here indeed; powerful stuff, not for the faint-hearted.
- Darren Bergstein, Downtown Music Gallery
Metal Chaos Ensemble - Inferno
LIVESTREAMED to YouTube
Evil Clown Headquarters - 16 September 2021
Review Excerpt from Darren Bergstein,
Downtown Music Gallery
“… All told, this is another walk in the wild woods, a massive, marathon mess o’ sound that is at once overwhelming, cathartic, demanding, exhausting, and exhilarating. Facile descriptors for this music simply don’t apply here: such notions as ‘jazz’, ‘improv’, or ‘avantism’ are merely fading signposts that act only as off-the-cuff categorical pin-drops…”
Liner Notes Excerpt (full text below)
"... This MCE configuration is the most rock-leaning Evil Clown ensemble with extended groove sections and prominent electronics...."
- PEK - 9/18/2021
"A working project to explore chaotic rhythms on metallic instruments, improvising with a rock-leaning edge and exploiting a large part of the Boston Evil Clown collective's percussion arsenal, along with analog synth, drum & Chos kit, reeds & winds and bass, manipulated in real-time through signal processing, with occasional narration from Dante's Inferno."
PEK tweak of a video grab
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff