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 - sopranino & tenor saxophones, contralto clainet, sheng, fog horn, game calls, gongs, chimes, hand chimes, crotales, daxophone, [d]ronin, mpa 019, therimin with moogerfooger, aquasonic, loops, signal processing
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.
Video Grab tweaked by PEK
PEK Solo - Coefficient of Unity
Review by Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
PEK - Solo - Coefficient of Unity (Evil Clown 9232; USA) Featuring Dave PEK on sopranino & tenor saxes, contralto clarinet, sheng, fog horn, game calls, gongs, daxophone, theremin, synth, aquasonics, percussion, loops and processing. Of the more than a half dozen Leap of faith offshoot projects, PEK solo efforts are the most rare. This disc was recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters in October of 2019. Considering that Leap of Faith founder, Dave PEK, now has more than a 100 discs on his Evil Clown label, which only goes back 5 years (since 2014), he has learned how to produce vast amounts of inspired improv discs from solos to his LoF Orchestra. PEK collects instruments, especially multiple reeds and often works with one instrument at a time although he does some live overdubbing, processing or sampling. This disc starts with what sounds like bowed wood, perhaps a daxophone? Things unfold slowly, carefully as PEK concentrates on one or two instruments at time, occasionally manipulating their sounds. PEK is also a strong producer, carefully crafting each sound, using selective amounts of delay or effects. There is short section of electronics (synth or theremin?), midway that sounds great, a bit spooky but well-placed. Since PEK takes his time, he is able to concentrate on each instrument, often quietly conjuring up inspired free spirits, drifting in and drifting out. Always compelling, thoughtfully crafted.
Liner Notes by PEK
Occasionally there is a break in the Evil Clown schedule and I have a little time for a solo session. In the 90s, I did solo performances occasionally - which presented several challenges. I like to work in a long form with lots of instrument changes, so I came up with several tricks for rapidly changing horns while continuing the improvisation...
Recently, I have been using the Ableton software to create electronic mixes which we use in several of the bands as an accompaniment track. In performance, I ride the fader from off to very present, but most of the time more to the background. Raw samples are taken from the Evil Clown Catalog and also specially recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters with instruments drawn from the Evil Clown arsenal. I then use Adobe Audition to process the samples and finally Ableton to assemble a timeline and create a mix. Several of my solo records have used these mixes. The accompaniment track neatly solves the problem of transitioning instruments.
For this set I decided to take a different approach. Instead of a pre-recorded Ableton mix, I used a batch of effects stomp boxes along with the theremin, [d]ronin, daxophone and the newly arrived mpa 019. I recorded a loop with the mpa 019 and set up long delays on the other instruments and a moog ring modulator on the theremin. Several of these options create sounds that persist over time, so as the improvisation unfolds sometimes I have sometimes have several simultaneous sets of sounds and sometimes decay from these devices available to cover transitions between instruments.
One thing I really like about solo sessions is that I can do them spontaneously. I worked all day Saturday on the new Frame Notation Score, Systems of Celestial Mechanics, and was planning to continue on Sunday. As I was starting the day, I changed my mind and did this recording instead. I’m super happy with the result which contains fairly long sections (4 to 5 minutes) of focused solos of the horns I used (sopranino & tenor saxophones, contralto clarinet & sheng) as well as a bunch of the metal percussion and weirder electronic instruments ([d]ronin, mpa 019, daxophone, theremin) often sounding together…
PEK – 10/28/2019
“A great example of the state of David Peck (PEK)'s approach to improvisation & arsenal of instruments, in an epic solo work merging acoustic and electronic sources with an unhurried path in a coherent long-form improvisation using reeds, sheng, fog horn, game calls, gongs, chimes, crotales, daxophone, [d]ronin, mpa 019, therimin, aquasonic, loops, & signal processing."
Review Excerpt from Bruce Lee Gallanter,
Downtown Music Gallery (Full Text Belos)
"… quietly conjuring up inspired free spirits, drifting in and drifting out. Always compelling, thoughtfully crafted…”
- Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
27 October 2019
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff