On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Liner Notes by PEK
Every once in a while, a new Evil Clown Project emerges. Mostly, the new ensembles are based on a small core group and a basic aesthetic problem which we solve in performance. For example, Turbulence is the band with mostly horn players, but the ensemble makeup is different each performance.
Perturbations is the newest Evil Clown Ensemble. The core unit is PEK and Joel Simches… Joel is the Evil Clown house engineer who comes to sessions for various bands when the setup complexity is high and especially when there are both acoustic and electronic instruments and the ensemble is a bit larger. Some of the bands (for example, Metal Chaos Ensemble and Simulacrum) feature Joel’s real time signal processing in addition to his role as the recording engineer. As we assemble the equipment (new board and effects) for the updated studio, Joel’s options have increased and improved.
A few months back, as I was working out the schedule for the January to April sessions, I suggested to Joel that we form this new group where the signal processing takes on the role of an instrumentalist, significantly more complicated than the color and delay we use in the other ensembles. For this band, Joel perturbs the sounds created by me on horns, percussion, and electronics, creating a compound musical statement with the blended source sounds and the perturbed sonority.
Perturbations is an extension of my solo work during the first year of the pandemic. All that work used some form of electronic manipulation either during the performance or in the editing environment before or after. With Joel at the controls of the signal processing, we essentially return to real-time decision making as a performance unit, and we get the full-time attention of a master engineer on the electronic perturbations of my instrumental expressions.
I like this new project and I bet you will too!! Check it out…
Links to previous PEK solo releases
The Unreality of Time (2018)
Thulsa Doom (2017)
YouTube YouTube YouTube YouTube
Evil Clown Album Page
Review by Darren Bergstein, Downtown Music Gallery
PERTURBATIONS Agitations (Evil Clown 9296; USA) Well, Dave PEK’s done it again, his Evil Clown headquarters spewing forth another fearsome magnum opus from its Waltham, MA homebase. Disguised under the aegis of yet another PEK alias, this particular one-hour-plus beast recorded as the duo Perturbations (PEK plus soundboard maven Joel Sinches, who is credited as utilizing the beforementioned perturbations in addition to spearheading the live to 2-track mix) tears your ears and soul apart in equal measure. PEK mounts his usual bandwidth of tradecraft, blowing his lungs out through a whole host of clarinets, saxophones, oboes, trombones, flutes, ocarinas, and what-have-you. All the while, strange, undulating electronics coarse through a deep reverb bed, augmented by thunderous gongs, thwacked springs and coils, strange beings cooing away in the distance, and other named and nameless instruments making many an abstruse sound/noise/cry across a decidedly Dali-esque wilderness. That PEK and Sinches manage to corral this sordid tableau into one magnificently cohesive and epic statement is a true derangement of the senses, chocolate for the cochlea. The opening minutes vacillate between segments based on percussives and brass, with a good amount of silence sprinkled between ‘movements’ (or, better still, segues) to add further tension and anticipation. Roughly thirteen minutes in, intergalactic electronic paradoodles peek their bulbous heads out, surveying the airspace, speaking in tongues, rattling their cages with insistent whooshes, PEK and Sinches coating their comely sprites in thick-as-thieves log drum messthetics and atmospheric shakers. By the time the listener has moved past this recording’s halfway mark, they’re microdotted with a symphony of alien morse codes, ever-spiraling tendrils of cyclonic synth and a more malevolent confluence of events, big ’n’ bad reams of electronics painting pictures of silver machines hovering amid quark, strangeness, and charm. Yeah, it’s improvisational experimental music at its finest, chock-a-block with so many dense layers of sound, performance, and production you’d be a lifetime getting into the depths of it all. But it sure as hell would be worth the effort.
- Darren Bergstein, 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.
Audio CD Evil Clown 9296
Perturbations - Agitation
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
12 February 2022
bandcamp: streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
Agitation - 1:10:37
PEK - clarinet & contralto clarinets, sopranino, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, piccolo oboe, bass tromboon, 5 hole wood flute, ocarinas, sheng, wind siren, [d]ronin, 17 string bass, moog subsequent, novation peak, prophet, syntrix, lfo synths, Linnstrument, spring & chime boxes, electric chimes, chimes, gongs, Englephone, brontosaurus & tank bells, plate gong, almglocken, crotales, glockenspiel, cow bells, log drums, wood blocks, temple blocks, orchestral castanets, loop station, voice
Joel Simches - perturbations (lexicon reverb & vortex, roland SDE300, echoplex, warp factory, sony reverb, boss DD500 delay & rotary ensemble, TC electronics M300, ADA 2FX), live to 2 track mix
Excerpt from PEK Liner Notes
“... Perturbations is an extension of my solo work during the first year of the pandemic. All that work used some form of electronic manipulation either during the performance or in the editing environment before or after. With Joel at the controls of the signal processing, we essentially return to real-time decision making as a performance unit, and we get the full-time attention of a master engineer on the electronic perturbations of my instrumental expressions..…”
Excerpt from Darren Bergstein, Downtown Music Gallery
“… Yeah, it’s improvisational experimental music at its finest, chock-a-block with so many dense layers of sound, performance, and production you’d be a lifetime getting into the depths of it all. But it sure as hell would be worth the effort.”
- Darren Bergstein, DMG
Perturbations - Agitation
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff