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
Audio CD Evil Clown 9313
Simulacrum - Meditations on Reality
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
7 July 2022
bandcamp: streaming, downloads and CD mail Order
Meditations on Reality - 1:10:04
PEK - clarinet & contralto clarinets, alto & tenor saxophones, tarota, bass flute, kora, tank cello, melodica, slide whistle, novation peak, moog subsequent, prophet, syntrix, arp odyssey, lfo synths, Linnstrument controllers, [d]ronin, daxophone, baby bomb piano, 17 string bass, spring & chime rod boxes, almglocken, Tibetan bowl, crotales, gong, plate gong, brontosaurus & tank bells, temple blocks, log drums, balafon, glockenspiel, xylophone, orchestral chimes, 5 hole Russian flute, fog horn, voice
Mike Caglianone - soprano, alto & tenor saxophones, [d]ronin, spring & chime rod boxes, plate gong, crotales, Englephone
Bob Moores - Modified trumpet with pickups horn and mouthpiece played through Zoom pedal and Ampkit, Mustang modified tenor guitar played through Ampkit on iPhone 13, kracklebox, MainStage softsynths on MacBook Air with full keyboard, ARP Odyssey emulator on iPad with mini keyboard, vocal emanations on microphone through pedal chain, log drums, temple blocks, wood blocks, 17 string bass
Eric Woods - analog synthesis, novation peak, moog subsequent, prophet, Englephone, 17 string bass, gong
Joel Simches - real time signal processing, live to 2-track mix
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 Excerpt by Darren Bergstein, Downtown Music Gallery
“…That improvisational ‘jazz’ (of which this only barely qualifies) could be this demonstrative speaks volumes about PEK and Simulacrum’s innate ability to wrestle the very guts from their instruments, sound, and splintered genre. As always, quite awesome, life-altering, and pretty much like nothing else out there.”
Excerpt from PEK Liner Notes
“… Despite being a quartet instead of quintet for this set, we produced a prototypical Simulacrum session, thick with electronic sounds, horns, and the broad palette percussion of an Evil Clown Livestream set…”
Liner Notes by PEK
A new project that was conceived just prior to the Virus shut things down is Simulacrum. This new band is an offshoot of Metal Chaos Ensemble featuring 3 the core members PEK on all my stuff, Eric Woods on analog synth, and Bob Moores on space trumpet, guitar, and electronics. The basic idea of this band is to increase the amount of electronics, to keep the ancillary percussion and loose the drum set, along with PEK and Bob holding down the horn parts. Even without the drums, this set tilts more in the noise direction than typical of Metal Chaos Ensemble.
This set was originally scheduled to be Metal Chaos Ensemble. Unlike most of the Evil Clown ensembles, the contemporary MCE has a pretty fixed sextet line up: PEK, Bob Moores, Mike Caglianone, Eric Woods, Mike Gruen, Steve Niemitz. Steve comes in from Western Mass (about an hour and a half from ECH), so I don’t schedule as many MCE sets as I did when Yuri was still performing on the drum chair. Anyway, in the age of Covid, it has not been unusual to reconfigure a session due to illness: In this case Steve got Covid, and then a few days later Mike lost his babysitter… Anyway, I almost never cancel a session once it is on the book, so we proceeded with quartet instead of sextet and changed the band name to Simulacrum.
Simulacrum has done quite a few sessions since the vaccines have allowed the LIVESTREAMING sets to resume. Also, this quartet has played as 4 of the 6 players in a MCE sets a bunch more times… Things are really gelling, and the electronics have taken a comfortable center stage on more recent Simulacrum albums. This time, Mike Caglianone, appears as a guest with the core trio, and the quartet really sings, producing one of the strangest efforts yet from this band.
Bob Moores is one of the most frequent Evil Clown contributors besides Glynis, appearing on well over 50 of our albums in most of the ensembles. At a the most recent Turbulence performance Bob busted out, for the very first time, some weird sting-of-consciousness vocalizations. These cray little stories make a reappearance here in half a dozen or so sections. When I asked Bob for his instrumentation this time he gave me this: “vocal emanations on microphone through pedal chain”.
Despite being a quartet instead of sextet for this set, we produced a prototypical Simulacrum session, thick with electronic sounds, horns, and the broad palette percussion of an Evil Clown Livestream set.
I like this set and I bet you will too.
PEK Out – 7/10/2022
Links to previous PEK solo releases
The Unreality of Time (2018)
Thulsa Doom (2017)
YouTube YouTube YouTube YouTube
Evil Clown Album Page
Simulacrum - Meditations on Reality
Review by Darren Bergstein, Downtown Music Gallery
SIMULACRUM Meditations on Reality (Evil Clown 9313; US) The follow-up to their earlier YouTube livestream from June of 2022, Meditations on Reality find both the Simulacrum group of ringleader Dave PEK, Bob Moores, Mike Caglianone, Eric Woods, and Joel Simches, and, indeed, the listener, examining their phenomenological authenticity as they collectively attempt to navigate this utter derangement of the senses. This is a real space trip, every bit as infinite and intergalactic as the most out-there Hawkwind blast-offs, or early Cosmic Jokers, or even some unholy merging of Beaver & Krause with Pharoah Sanders. Bottom line is that Simulacrum don’t let their guard down for a minute, as if every fiber of their being(s) is in service to some ancient hymnal rite that sees fit to conjure the majestic, molten, supernatural power latent with Lovecraftian overtones emanating from the Old Ones. PEK & crew interject sci-fi warblings, snippets of film dialog from 50s potboilers, obscurantist spoken word channelling both Bukowski and Crowley, and just about everything but the kitchen sink to erect this preening, monstrosity of sound. PEK’s horns seem to do the impossible, reaching ecstatic flights of fancy so stratospheric you worry he’ll blow his spleen out the bell. Moore, Simches, and their colleagues splatter the studio walls with all manner of gothic electronic entrails, where bits of sequencer bubble out of the maelstrom like superheated mercury, and percussive attack ships on fire point the band towards the farthermost shores of Orion. That improvisational ‘jazz’ (of which this only barely qualifies) could be this demonstrative speaks volumes about PEK and Simulacrum’s innate ability to wrestle the very guts from their instruments, sound, and splintered genre. As always, quite awesome, life-altering, and pretty much like nothing else out there.
- Darren Bergstein, DMG