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 

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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Liner Notes by PEK

Occasionally there is a break in the Evil Clown calendar 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.

The next Frame Notation Score for the Leap of Faith Orchestra, Systems of Celestial Mechanics, will include game calls as part of the auxiliary instrument set used by the whole orchestra. Over the last several months I have been in an acquisition and experimental phase, purchasing a bunch of calls from ebay and figuring out their sounds. I’ve had 8 or 10 game calls of several types for the last 4 years or so, and I have used them in a number of settings over that time. Game calls are intended to mimic the “voice” of animals - they are very responsive to throat-position technique, just like saxophones and clarinets. For such simple instruments, they are actually quite expressive in their range of sounds. The much larger set of calls now available cover a much broader sound set.

As I often do, I set out to build a homogeneous texture from samples of the various game calls. To generate the raw material required, I played the pile of calls for almost an hour and recorded the result. I did build a mix which was used in the Metal Chaos Ensemble – The Nameless City Session a few days later and which has been added generally to the Ableton mix library. However, I was also pleased with the improvised solo in and of itself and I have decided to release that improvisation as a stand alone album.

Ordinarily, I use lots of different instruments which can be classified into two general groups: Instruments on which I have enough vocabulary/technique to sustain a full-length improvisation, and Instruments that have sounds that I like, but do not posses a broad enough pallet of sound to be used by themselves for an entire set. Instruments in the first set include saxophones and clarinets and some of the double reed instruments, while instruments in the second set include the bulk of the Evil Clown Arsenal of axes… I was surprised to find that I felt this improvisation, using only game calls, fell into the first and not the second category.

I will say, that this might be one of my weirdest albums ever, since the game calls make no natural reference to the regular characteristics of most western instruments. That is saying a lot, since we pump out a lot of really weird music here at Evil Clown!!!

PEK – 9/2/2019

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 Solo - Indexical Utterance

Review:

Leap of Faith Orchestra performs

Supernovae by PEK

by Karl  Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com

Audio CD                                     Evil Clown 9227

PEK Solo - Indexical Utterance

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Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA 

27 August 2019


1.  Assertion 07:46
2. Indexical Utterance 47:35


​PEK - Game Calls

Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA

27 August 2019