On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff
Perturbations - Deviations
On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Excerpt from PEK Liner Notes
“… As I expected, the trio interaction in this new setting was great! There is a steady bed of loops and electronic manipulation which evolved slowly over the course of the improvisation. 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 the instrumental expressions…”
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 continue to assemble the equipment (new board and effects) for the updated studio, Joel’s options have increased and improved.
Early this year (2022), 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. Shortly after that, in February, we recorded the first session for this project as a duet, producing Agitation. As I expected, the result meets the requirement I have for a new Evil Clown project name which is to create a distinctive sound world from a particular section through Evil Clown’s broad palette…
As I considered a follow-up, I decided to bring in one additional player to thicken the sound spectrum and to help cover the instrument changes with other sound. Initially, I booked Albey onBass for this set, but he is travelling back and forth between Boston and New York, and sometimes his plans are subject to change, and he had to withdraw…
I contacted Michael Caglianone for the set instead. Michael plays saxophones and other woodwinds in several of the Evil Clown ensembles, and he and I have similar tone and phrasing vocabulary on saxophones. He has performed on almost 20 Evil Clown releases including two trio format Turbulence sessions with Yuri Zbitnov… So, we have played in larger and smaller settings and have fine-tuned interactions.
I asked Joel to increase the amount of Perturbations compared to the first outing and we launched into this new set, Deviations. As I expected, the trio interaction in this new setting was great! There is a steady bed of loops and electronic manipulation which evolved slowly over the course of the improvisation. 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 the instrumental expressions.
I like this new project and I bet you will too!! Check it out…
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 9320
Perturbations - Deviations
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
18 August 2022
bandcamp: streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
Deviations - 1:10:29
PEK - clarinet, alto, contralto & contrabass clarinets, sopranino, alto, & tenor saxophones, bass flute, bawu, 5 hole Russian flute, piccolo oboe, tarota, triple slide whistle, sheng, melodica, [d]ronin, spring & chime rod boxes, almglocken, crotales, cymbells, glockenspiel, gongs, plate gong, Englephone, maracas, moog subsequent, novation peak, prophet, syntrix, Linnstrument controlers, 17-string bass, crank siren
Michael Caglianone – soprano, alto, tenor & baritone saxophones, clarinet, tiny slide whistle, melodica, flute, gong, plate gong, melodica, [d]ronin, spring & chime rod boxes, 17-string bass, crank siren
Joel Simches - live to 2-track recording, perturbations (lexicon vortex & reverb, roland SDE3000, echoplex, electrix warp factory, TC electronic M300, aua lfx , digitech BPBU, digitech mosaic, boss flanger, korg SDD3000, boss dynamic wah)
Links to previous PEK solo releases
The Unreality of Time (2018)
Thulsa Doom (2017)
YouTube YouTube YouTube YouTube
Evil Clown Album Page