On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Metal Chaos Ensemble - Project Wildfire
LIVESTREAMED to YouTube
Evil Clown Headquarters - 10 March 2022
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff
Audio CD Evil Clown 9299
Metal Chaos Ensemble - Project Wildfire
bandcamp: streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
1) Project Wildfire - 1:10:30
Livestreamed to YouTube
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
10 March 2022
PEK - clarinet, contralto & contrabass clarinets, alto, & tenor saxophones, mussette, bawu, melodica, novation peak, moog subsequent, syntrix, prophet, Linnstrument controllers, lfo synths, theremin with moogerfooger, daxophone, [d]ronin, spring & chime rod boxes, electric chimes, 17 string bass, brontosaurus bell, gongs, plate gong, Tibetan bowls, almglocken, crotales, glockenspiel, orchestral chimes, wood blocks, temple blocks, narration
Bob Moores - Trumpet with Zoom AX effects, “Junkyard Dog” electric guitar with effects, MainStage on MacBook Air with full midi keyboard, Audiokit Synth One and DroneLab on iPad mini, kracklebox, Indian hand chimes & bell, chime rod boxes
MIchael Caglianone - soprano, alto & tenor saxophones, xylophone, plate gong
Albey onBass - bass guitar, crotales, glockenspeil
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.
Liner Notes Excerpt (full text below)
“… This set leans more in the jazz direction than usual since Steve is more of a jazz style drummer than Yuri and Albey is a more jazz style bassist than Mike: Different, but still clearly Metal Chaos Ensemble…”
- PEK - 3/11/2022
PEK tweak of a video grab
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 seven 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.
Since the pandemic has let up, we have started to do LIVESTREAMING sessions from Evil Clown Headquarters to YouTube… This set was initially meant to be the stable sextet edition of MCE which nowadays is made up of PEK on woodwinds and other, Bob Moores on trumpet and electronics, Michael Caglianone on saxes, Eric Woods on analog electronics, Mike Gruen on bass guitar, and Steve Niemitz on the Chaos Kit. A week or so before the set, I heard from Eric that he had a new conflict and couldn’t make the set, and then the day before, I heard from Mike Gruen that his kids were sick, and he could not make it either.
Generally, I don’t often cancel any Evil Clown session due to conflicts like these, since all the bands are highly modular and not strictly dependent on a specific set of musicians. Sometimes I do change the name of the Ensemble and the planned Album Title if the available players no longer match the general description for a particular band. We did have an MCE session scheduled in December 2022 for Project Wildfire, but Steve had his car in the shop. The current sextet MCE ensemble needs a drummer, so the set was repurposed to a Simulacrum performance and released as Phantasmagoria. Project Wildfire was postponed and eventually rescheduled to yesterday.
When Yuri withdrew from Evil Clown a few years back, I was worried that the MCE format would not survive his departure. I have found, however, that the strength of the concept and the development that happened up until that time has meant that the MCE concept can continue in a new way. Anyway, I called on Albey onBass to sub for Mike Gruen for this set and we recorded it as a quintet. This set leans more in the jazz direction than usual since Steve is more of a jazz style drummer than Yuri and Albey is a more jazz style bassist than Mike: Different, but still clearly Metal Chaos Ensemble…
I’m super happy with this album and I bet you like it too…PEK – 3/11/2022