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.
Metal Chaos Ensemble - Malleability
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
16 February 2017
Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
METAL CHAOS ENSEMBLE [PEK / YURI ZBITNOV] - Malleability (Evil Clown 9132; USA) This version of the Metal Chaos Ensembles features just two core members of the Leap of Faith clan: PEK on tenor & bass saxes, clarinets, dulzaina, electronics, theremin, daxophone, foghorn and assorted percussion & metals and Yuri Zbitnov on drums, daiko, chimes, glockenspiel, balafon, crotales, metals & voice. This is a stripped down version of Leap of Faith with just two members and it is one of the best discs. Superbly recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters, mostly reeds, percussion and minimal electronics.
Unfolding slowly and concentrating on one or two instruments at a time. Rather than go too far out, the duo cautiously weave their sounds with great care. Everything is well-balanced and rarely too dense. If you haven’t started your Leap of faith collection yet, this would be a good place to start as it is one of their least demanding yet still compelling on several levels without going too far into the stratosphere of free/jazz insanity. Most impressive! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Raffi Photos tweaked by PEK
Audio CD Evil Clown 9132
Metal Chaos Ensemble - Malleability
streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
Deformations - 1:09:40
A return to the PEK/Yuri duet format of some of the earlier sessions... This time with a greatly increased palate, Ableton mix from processed samples of the Evil Clown Catalog, and more signal processing... Featuring newly acquired instruments in the Aresenal - bass saxophone and orchestral chimes... A great example of the Evil Clown broad palette aesthetic with development through dozens of combinations of density, sonority and dynamic level...
Photos by Raffi
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
PEK - tenor & bass saxophones, clarinet, contra-alto clarinet,
dulzaina, Ableton mix, electronics, [d]ronin, theremin, daxophone,
ms-20, daiko, melodica, whistles, siren, orchestral chimes, hand
chimes, glockenspiel, balafon, metal, wood, crotales, cymbells, electric
kazoo, fog horns, voice
Yuri Zbitnov - drum set, daiko, orchestral chimes, glockenspiel, crotales,
balafon, danmo, [d]ronin, metal, wood, voice