Leap of Faith Orchestra performs

Supernovae by PEK

by Karl  Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com

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 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.

MCE has always contained more rock elements that the other Evil Clown projects.  This aspect of the project has really come into focus in the sessions over the last year or two.  Last May we did three rapid fire sets in 8 days with two different groove-oriented lineups.  These sessions are some of the most groove-heavy sets yet, due to the driving bass of newcomer Mike Gruen on Azoth and Basilisk, and the incredible djembe of Moouse Traore on Reverberatory Furnace. 

This current set is the trio with Mike Gruen plus the modular analog synth of MCE regular Eric Woods and trumpet, guitar and synth from our pal Bob Moores.  We now LIVE STREAM to YouTube all of the Evil Clown Headquarters recording sessions.  With the help of Joel Simchez at the audio mixing console and Raffi at the video mixing console, we’re pushing a real quality 5 channel Stream!  Subscribe to my YouTube for notifications https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClfRlTeeHnSxRsJTkFakiJw/videos)

These more groove-oriented sessions are new ground for us.  The solid contribution of Mike at the bass chair is really bringing us in a new direction.  Make sure you check it out!  Not to do so would be a serious mistake.

PEK 8/31/2019

Metal Chaos Ensemble 

     - The Nameless City

Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA - 29 August 2019

PEK Tweak of a Raffi Photo


Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter,

    Downtown Music Gallery (full text below)

“… there is a spoken word sci-fi like intro with some soft, swirling electronics and percussion flowing together. When the electric guitar enters it sounds like it could turn into a prog-jam of sorts. Electric bass is a rarity for most Leap of Faith offshoots. Yet here, the bass & drums work their way into a laid back yet rockin’ groove, at least for the first section. Things calm down and then build again slowly with game calls, synth, bells or gongs, throbbing bass and eerie effects…”

- Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG     

Raffi Photos

On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG

On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... ​using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation."   - Squidco website staff

Evil Clown 

​Audio CD                 Evil Clown 9226

Metal Chaos Ensemble

     - The Nameless City


streaming, downloads and CD mail Order

Squidco:  CD Mail Order

1) The Nameless City - 1:10:15

Live YouTube Streaming 
From Evil Clown Headquarters

Waltham MA, 29 August 2019

PEK -  
clarinet & contralto clarinet, alto & tenor saxophones, mussette, game calls, wood flute, gongs, tank & brontosaurus bells, glockenspiel, mallet kat/moog subsequent, orchestral chimes, [d]ronin, wind siren,  recitation, ableton mix
Yuri Zbitnovdrums, englephone, orchestral chimes, tank & bronosaurus bells, Tibetan bells, [d]ronin, recitation

​Bob Moores -piccolo trumpet, guitar, synthesizer, signal procesing
Eric Woods - modular analong synth, Englephone , gong

Mike Gruen - bass

Joel Simches - Live to 2 track recording, real -time signal processing