Evil Clown 

Review:

Leap of Faith Orchestra performs

Supernovae by PEK

by Karl  Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com

video grabs

Review by Darren Bergstein, Downtown Music Gallery

“…Even more tellingly, the use of space across Elaborations, both figuratively and literally, gives this recording a sense of potency that shows yet another side of PEK’s singular vision, be it the ritualistic atmospheres burning like sonic incense or the Coltrane-ian flights of fancy that are practically his birthright. Vital, daring, uncompromising music.”


PEK Liner Notes Excerpt...

"For the main horns I used the three Bb clarinets from the clarinet family (Bb, bass and contrabass).  I used a couple of gongs and several bells for interlude material between sections with the horns and I created some additional interludes with a bunch of other small wind instruments…   I like playing with delay in this exposed solo setting. .."

​PEK -31 December 2020     


Squidco blurb
For Boston improviser David Peck, a surprisingly small set of instruments for this extended solo work focused on Bb, bass & contrabass clarinets, recorded in a continuous improvisation augmented with goat horn, ocarinas, wood flutes, penny whistle, triple slide whistle, chromatic harmonica, hulusi, wind siren, concertina, gongs, tank bell and Tibetan bells.

Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA 

30 December 2020

Review by Darren Bergstein, Downtown Music Gallery


PEK SOLO - Elaborations (Evil Clown 9263; USA) Coming hot on the heels of the previous three-disc extravaganza Semantic Notions, Elaborations seems to have found Dave PEK taking something of a breather. Opening with a sharp crash of cascading bells, PEK appears to be ushering in some ancient ceremonial rite that only he is privy to. Indeed, there is a pensive, shamanic quality to this hour-plus travelogue that is one of the artist’s most introspective, meditative works yet. Snatches of silence are peppered throughout, as PEK coaxes the listener to enter various, tone-shifting dreamstates. Though ‘minimalism’ is hardly the word to describe anything Evil Clown thrusts upon the world, Elaborations certainly comes closest. PEK chooses his instruments and their placement in the stereofield carefully, almost gingerly; from those entrancing initial chimes to the foghorn sonorities of wood flutes, and goat horn, and onto his usual seancé-wrecking sax, PEK alternately fulminates and soothes, and it is that very unpredictability that maintains your attention and interest across this vast aural expanse. The oil-slick swirling mass on the CD cover ideally reflects his mutable processes; coupled with his indomitable spirit and ever-impressive command of more than a baker’s-dozen of instruments, the worlds PEK conjures never cease to amaze. Even more tellingly, the use of space across Elaborations, both figuratively and literally, gives this recording a sense of potency that shows yet another side of PEK’s singular vision, be it the ritualistic atmospheres burning like sonic incense or the Coltrane-ian flights of fancy that are practically his birthright. Vital, daring, uncompromising music.


- Darren Bergstein, DMG

Audio CD                                   Evil Clown 9263

PEK Solo - Elaborations 


bandcamp:  streaming, downloads and CD mail Order

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1.  Elaborations - 1:08:38

Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA

​30 December 2020


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.

PEK – Bb, bass & contrabass clarinets, goat horn, ocarinas, wood flutes, penny whistle, triple slide whistle, chromatic harmonica, hulusi, wind siren, concertina, gongs, tank bell, Tibetan bells

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

YouTube Video...

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

PEK Solo - Elaborations

2

Liner Notes by PEK

Every once in a while, there is a break in the crazy schedule here at Evil Clown and I have some time to do a solo album. Our grand olde pal, the Corona Virus has provided such a break in spades…. At the beginning of the year, it appeared that the year would be our busiest yet… We did a bunch of albums in January, February and the first weeks of March, and then I was forced to cancel a bunch of wonderful performances scheduled for the months that followed. So, I caught up all my old business: web site, social media, distribution, and the other non-musical activity required to drive the enterprise. Then I took a month off… my biggest rest since I started up in 2015 after my long hiatus. In mid-May I started up again, conceiving some new means of producing some of the enormous output normally achieved by Evil Clown.

Over the rest of the year, I managed to get in a Leap of Faith show at Eric Zinman’s Studio 34 and a few Metal Chaos Ensemble sessions with just Yuri or with Yuri and Mike… For obvious reasons, I have been producing a lot more PEK Solo albums than I do in a typical year. As with larger ensemble Evil Clown sessions, the planning involves selecting sound resources from the massive Evil Clown Arsenal and setting up the studio with these instruments to allow rapid changes in instrumentation and therefore in sonority. I leveraged the following concepts from the Evil Clown Grand Aesthetic to create solo works that are sufficiently different from each other that I could produce about 2/3 of my normal yearly output despite the stupid virus.

The PEK Solo albums fall into four categories:
1) One continuous track (no overdubbing) of PEK playing one or many instruments with or without signal processing.
2) One continuous track of PEK playing one or many instruments with a prerecorded mix of samples drawn from the Evil Clown Catalog or specially recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters. Solo albums from before this year fall into the categories 1 & 2.
3) A Quartet of PEKs – Four continuous tracks of one PEK each playing many instruments on each pass. Two of these albums, Schematic Abstractions for the Clarinet Family and Fixed Intentions for the Saxophone Family use very focused palettes. Unifications and The Strange Theory of Light and Matter use broad palettes comprised of woodwinds, percussion, electronics, and strings.
4) An Orchestra of PEKs – Many tracks of PEKs performing on a broad section of the Arsenal. The last of these, Some Truths are Known, is a mammoth 4-hour studio construction / composition in 3 eighty-minute movements. I list 110 instruments in the notes for this album….

The current session, Elaborations, is a category 1 set. For the main horns I used the three Bb clarinets from the clarinet family (Bb, bass and contrabass). I used a couple of gongs and several bells for interlude material between sections with the horns and I created some additional interludes with a bunch of other small wind instruments… I like playing with delay in this exposed solo setting. The decay nicely covers the time required for instrument changes. There are a few grand pauses also at instrument changes that give the piece a multi-movement feel perhaps more than usual.

Until the stupid virus is over and more normal interactions are possible with other people, I will continue to create PEK Solo new works using the four concepts listed above and maybe some new ones. There will also be some small group Leap of Faith and Metal Chaos Ensemble sets. Evil Clown will resume its normal routines when it is safe to do so.

As usual, the chaos of the universe throws problems which require our attention. Expression must be expressed. Music must be made. The chaos of the universe demands it.

PEK – 12/30/2020