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

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 2020, 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.  In the Fall I did a huge series of solo works along with a few Metal Chaos Ensemble sets with Yuri and Mike Gruen.

Now entering the second calendar year to be affected by the Stupid Virus, I really miss playing with others…  For obvious reasons, I have been producing a lot more PEK Solo albums than I do typically.  I conceived a structural schema for producing solo works while we wait for the virus to be over.  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.  This system provides a framework to create solo works that are sufficiently different from each other that I can continue to produce new work at something close to my usual rate even while I can’t perform with others.

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 2020 fall into the categories 1 & 2.
3)  A Quartet of PEKs – Four continuous tracks of one PEK each playing many instruments on each pass.  Some of these use broad pallets and some use very focused pallets.
4)  An Orchestra of PEKs – Many tracks of PEKs performing on a broad section of the Arsenal.

Electrolysis is a category 4 construction which follows up on the Quartet of PEKs session, Unifications.  Unifications heavily featured the growing electronics section of the Arsenal with somewhat less horns in the overall mix.  I started Electrolysis with a session on the new Arsenal Axe, Syntrx by Erica Synths.  This instrument is an old school analog synth with a new-fangled digital matrix patching bay.  You can run a midi controller or other instrument through the synth, but it has a broad range of sounds available through knob twiddling with no external instrument patched in.  I plugged my Linnstrument midi controller in which has rows of keys a fourth apart, like a bass guitar. 

It is also a follow-up to Stretching the Fabric of Space which features the growing set of string instruments in the arsenal.  Relatively new instruments include Guqin, a seven string Chinese instrument, alto and bass Nagoya harps, which are Japanese string instruments with keys that stop the strings, and electric upright bass.

As with all the Orchestra of PEKs sessions, I started with prerecorded and premixed tracks with some electronic processing to speed up and slow down, to raise and lower pitch, and to build up thick mixes of sounds from the same sonority set.  Mixes used in Electrolysis are from the electronics sonority set and the strings sonority set.  I arrange these premixes on a timeline of the full duration in the DAW with some sections layered up and some sections with no premixes at all.  This generates a density map which informs the improvisational decisions made on the subsequent full length continuously recorded tracks.

For this album I then recorded 5 additional tracks of the full duration.  For each track, I fill the studio with instruments, and then record the full duration of the work with frequent instrument changes.  This is not unlike how you play in an improvisation ensemble where you listen, predict and react to the other sounds, but with a few key differences including:  You know what has been previously recorded, and you can watch the waveforms on the computer monitor.

One last final technical enhancement for this album is the use of a looper to build up layers of horns.  I prerecorded two of these and them split them up into short sections which I placed on the timeline to provide repeating and developing horn backup for the solo tracks recorded last.

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 also may be some small group Leap of Faith and Metal Chaos Ensemble sets.  Evil Clown will resume its normal routines when vaccination is widespread, and it is safe to do so.

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

PEK – 3/6/21

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 9266

PEK Solo, An Orchestra of PEKs - Electrolysis


Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA

27, 28 February, 2, 3 March 2021

​bandcamp streaming, downloads and CD mail Order

Squidco:  CD Orders


Electrolysis- 1:16:33


PEK -Composition, all instruments, recording, mixing, mastering


- clarinets (B flat, alto, contralto, contrabass)
- saxes (sopranino, bamboo soprano, alto, tenor, bass)
- double reeds (piccolo oboe, oboe, english horn, contrabasoon, medieval pipe, bass tromboon)
- flutes (piccolo, c, alto, large bamboo)
- free reed aerophones (sheng, melodica, concertina, chromatic harmonica)
- other winds (bass ocarina, wind siren)
- electronics (syntrx, moog subsequent with malletkat, Korg ms-20, novation peak with linnstrument, arp odyssey, theremin, delay, moogerfooger)
- strings (electric upright bass, electric cello, alto & bass nagoya harps, guqin, [d]ronin)
- percussion (gongs, plate gong, englephone, brontosaurus & tank bells, tibetan bowls & bells, bells, Orchestral chimes, crotales, chimes, cow bells, bell tree, finger cymbal, glockenspiel, trine, Xylophone, wood blocks, temple blocks, log drum, cajon snare, daiko, talking drum, tabla)

Video Grabs & Instrument Photos..


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Links to previous PEK solo releases


Schisms (2020)

bandcamp
YouTube  
Evil Clown Album Page


Precendents (2020)

bandcamp

YouTube  YouTube  YouTube  YouTube

Evil Clown Album Page


Coefficient of Unity  (2019)
bandcamp
YouTube  
Evil Clown Album Page


Indexical Utterance (2019)
bandcamp
YouTube  
Evil Clown Album Page

Closed & Open Universes (2019)
bandcamp
YouTube  
Evil Clown Album Page


The Unreality of Time (2018)

bandcamp
Evil Clown Album Page


Non-Local Causality (2018)
bandcamp
Evil Clown Album Page

Fulcrum  (2018)
bandcamp
YouTube  
Evil Clown Album Page


​Thulsa Doom (2017) 
bandcamp
YouTube  YouTube  YouTube  YouTube
Evil Clown Album Page

YouTube Videos..

Review:

Leap of Faith Orchestra performs

Supernovae by PEK

by Karl  Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com

​​​​​​Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
27, 28 February, 2, 3 March 2021

Squidco Blurb  

​​​"A follow-up to Stretching the Fabric of Space, this solo release from David Peck presents an extended layered set of fize improvisations using a base of prerecorded and premixed tracks with some electronic processing to speed up and slow down, to raise and lower pitch, and to build up thick mixes of sounds from the same sonority set.”


Excerpt from PEK Liner Notes

“... Electrolysis is a category 4 construction which follows up on the Quartet of PEKs session, Unifications.  Unifications heavily featured the growing electronics section of the Arsenal with somewhat less horns in the overall mix…   It is also a follow-up to Stretching the Fabric of Space which features the growing set of string instruments in the arsenal...”  

PEK Solo, An Orchestra of PEKs - Electrolysis

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

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