PEK Tweak of a Video Grab
Metal Chaos Ensemble
- Insanity is Contagious
Livestreamed to YouTube from
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA - 26 June 2023
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
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.
Paul Brennan photos and video screen grabs
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 eight 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.
More recently, MCE has been a recurring sextet unit with most of the sessions having exactly these six performers. With drums and electric bass and electronics, this unit contains the most rock elements of any of the Evil Clown ensembles. Since Yuri retired from Evil Clown, drummer Steve Niemitz has been holding down the drum chair. He drives into Boston from Eastern Mass, so we don’t do quite as many sets as we did back in the day, but it tends to make them a bit special.
I’m super happy with this album and I bet you like it too…
PEK – 6/27/2023
Audio CD Evil Clown 9341
Metal Chaos Ensemble
- Insanity is Contagious
streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
1) Insanity is Contagious - 1:10:09
2) A Morbid Aversion to Dying – 5:22
LIVESTREAMED to YouTube
From Evil Clown Headquarters
Waltham MA, 26 June 2023
PEK - clarinet & contralto clarinets, sopranino, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, tarota, melodica, [d]ronin, 17 string bass, theremin with moogerfooger, log drums, danmo, wood blocks, gongs, plate gong, crotales, brontosaurus bell, orchestral chimes, Englephone, prophet, novation peak, moog subsequent, syntrx, ms-20, soma pipe, game calls, chimes, Linnstrument controllers, recitation
Bob Moores - Electric trumpet, electric guitar, softsynths on iPad, drone generator, all through various efx pedals and wah pedal. nord stage 3, log drums, wood blocks, temple blocks
Mike Caglianone - soprano, alto & tenor saxophones, spring & chime rod boxes, brontosaurus bell, Englephone, prophet, nord stage 3, danmo, gong, cow bells
Eric Woods - analog synthesis, novation peak, moog subsequent, Linnstrument controllers
Mike Gruen - six string bass guitar, Tibetan bowls
Steve Niemitz - drums, log drums, wood & temple blocks, brontosaurus bell, gongs, Englephone, danmo, [d]ronin, 17 string bass, orchestral chimes
Joel Simches - Live to 2 track recording, real -time signal processing