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
Excerpt from PEK Liner Notes
“… The last Simulacrum set, Metamorphoses, featured the core trio with guest Albey OnBass. This one is the core trio with guest Mike Gruen. Both performed on electric bass and both are excellent players, but their styles are very different. So, despite the instrumentation being similar between the two performances, the role of the bass is very different between the two sessions…”
"An offshoot of the Metal Chaos Ensemble featuring three of the core members--PEK on reeds, winds and the Evil Clown arsenal of percussion, Eric Woods on analog synth, and Bob Moores on space trumpet, guitar, and electronics, joined by guest Mike Gruen on electric bass, using a new SoundCraft mixer allowing advanced real-time signal processing from Joel Simches."
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 9292
Simulacrum - Phantasmagoria
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
2 December 2021
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PEK - clarinet, contralto & contrabass clarinets, alto & tenor saxophones, piccolo oboe, guanzi, melodica, ocarina, 17-string bass, glockenspiel, crotales, gongs, orchestral chimes, brontosaurus & tank bells, Tibetan bowls, Englephone, log drums, xylophone, balafon, wood blocks, almglocken, cowbells, spring boxes, chime rod boxes, electric chimes, [d]ronin, photosynth, lfo & frankenstein synths, moog subsequent, prophet, otamatone, syntrix, novation peak, LinnStrument midi controllers, theremin w/ moogerfooger, daxophone
Bob Moores - pocket trumpet with effects, electric ukelele and electric guitar with efx,MainStage soft-synths on MacBook with keyboards, Moog D emulator on iPad, crackle box, moog subsequent, prophet, LinnStrument midi controller, 17-string Bass guitar, Englephone, gong, plate gong, temple bell, cymbells, wood blocks, crank siren
Eric Woods - analog synthesis, gong, cymbells
Mike Gruen - purple sparkles bass, signal processing
Joel Simches - real time signal processing, live to 2-track mix
Links to previous PEK solo releases
The Unreality of Time (2018)
Thulsa Doom (2017)
YouTube YouTube YouTube YouTube
Evil Clown Album Page
Liner Notes by PEK
The pandemic forced me to focus on solo works for its duration. It was fun to explore the world of overdubbing and multichannel recording for a year or so, but I am more than ready to resume ensemble playing. When the hammer came down in March of 2020, Evil Clown had some great momentum recording a number of great projects in a few short months: Leap of Faith had just recorded Principles of an Open Future for Relative Pitch, Metal Chaos Ensemble had just recorded The Riddle of Steel, Turbulence had just recorded Friction Coefficients, and new ensemble Expanse had just recorded Main Sequence. All of these projects would have made great music during the last year. Now that we are coming back to a more normal world and I have started LIVESTREAMING shows from Evil Clown Headquarters, all of these projects are picking up again.
Another new project that was conceived at this time was 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 with all six regular members plus Joel signed up. A few days before the set I heard from Steve Niemitz (drums) that he was having car trouble and wouldn’t be able to make the trek from western Mass… Then Mike Caglianone (saxes) came down with a cold and wouldn’t be able to make it either. Generally, I never cancel anything here at Evil Clown, we just roll with the punches, so this set changed from MCE to Simulacrum…
The last Simulacrum set, Metamorphoses, featured the core trio with guest Albey OnBass. This one is the core trio with guest Mike Gruen. Both performed on electric bass and both are excellent players, but their styles are very different. So, despite the instrumentation being similar between the two performances, the role of the bass is very different between the two sessions.
I’m in the early stages of retooling my house to make the studio far more professional and regain some of the living space. For now, I’m acquiring new equipment and setting it up in the old space so that when the construction is going on next summer, we know the new board and the other new associated gear for planning purposes. Anyway, the new board is a 48 channel 8 bus SoundCraft, which is an order of magnitude better than the Mackies which I have used for the last few decades. Joel has helped me to assemble the rig and given me needed advice on what to acquire and how to configure it all. Joel is my house engineer who records more complicated sessions that have a mix of acoustic and electronic instrumentation for the larger ensembles, and he is tickled pink with the new set-up (especially all his options for signal processing).
So, Phantasmagoria ended up being a quartet with the core trio + Mike G and Joel in the driver’s seat at the new board!! I like this set and I bet you will too.
PEK Out – 12/4/2021
Simulacrum - Phantasmagoria