Evil Clown 

2

Excerpt from PEK Liner Notes

"...  This session, Fixed Intentions for the Saxophone Family, is a follow up to last month’s Schematic Abstractions for the Clarinet Family.  The general approach here at Evil Clown is to leverage the huge arsenal of instruments and roster of musicians to create a huge variety of music with either very broad or very focused sound pallets with the goal of creating a great deal of unique improvised music with varied sonorities.  These two albums focus all of the sounds down to a single sonority set, with all of the common members of the two instrument families played by me in 4 overdubbed tracks...." 


--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.

This is the sixth PEK Solo effort of 2020. There probably would be more, except I spent nearly two months on a massive studio construction, a structurally complex work involving many of my instruments, overdubbing and computer sound processing. I am super happy with Some Truths are Known – a four hour composition in 3 eighty minute movements for myself on 110 instruments… then I recorded The Strange Theory of Light & Matter, a much simpler session for 4 PEKs each playing through the entire duration on a bunch of different horns. Next was Pursuing the Ideal Limit of Inquiry for a single PEK on tenor sax alone… For Schematic Abstractions, I followed up on the quartet idea (from The Strange Theory of Light and Matter), but this time using a focused sonority set comprised of only the clarinets…

Jazz and improvisation have a long history of saxophone quartets. In fact, in the 80s, before I moved to from California to Boston to study with George Garzone at Berklee, I played the baritone sax parts for several years in the ragtime sax quartet lead by my long-time private teacher Kurt Heisig. This was good experience but was by far the most normal music I have ever performed. I always was a big fan of the Rova Sax Quartet and the World Sax Quartet among others who pushed the boundaries of the traditional approaches to sax quartet. In the last 5 1/2 years since the Evil Clown reboot, one of the ensembles has been Turbulence, which is generally comprised of horn players although some sets include the drums of Yuri Zbitnov. A great recent horns-only Turbulence set is Upheaval from 2019. This music is of course completely improvised and generally does not have a dominant jazz component, but we have recorded and released many performances.

This session, Fixed Intentions for the Saxophone Family, is a follow up to last month’s Schematic Abstractions for the Clarinet Family. The general approach here at Evil Clown is to leverage the huge arsenal of instruments and roster of musicians to create a huge variety of music with either very broad or very focused sound pallets with the goal of creating a great deal of unique improvised music with varied sonorities. These two albums focus all of the sounds down to a single sonority set, with all of the common members of the two instrument families played by me in 4 overdubbed tracks.

Until the stupid virus is over and more normal interactions are possible with other people, Evil Clown will continue to create new works using different methods which don’t involve many other players: PEK Solo projects, and a very select number of Leap of Faith or Metal Chaos Ensemble sets involving no more than 3 people. The PEK Solos with fall into 3 categories: Large Studio Construction/Compositions for lots of overdubbing PEKs on many instruments, small ensembles of PEKs like this quartet, and solos like Pursuing the Ideal Limit of Inquiry for unaccompanied single instruments (either full length, or several shorter pieces on different horns)…

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 – 9/8/2020

Audio CD                                    Evil Clown 9253

PEK Solo, A Quartet of PEKs

    - Fixed Intentions for the Saxophone Family


Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA

7 September 2020

bandcamp:   streaming, downloads and CD mail Order


1) Fixed Intentions for the Saxophone Family - 59:28

PEK - sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone  & bass saxophones, digital delay

PEK Solo, A Quartet of PEKs

     - Fixed Intentions for the Saxophone Family

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

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

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.

Review:

Leap of Faith Orchestra performs

Supernovae by PEK

by Karl  Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com

​​​​​Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
7 September 2020