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
2021 to present
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.
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 members PEK on all my stuff, Eric Woods on analog synth, and Bob Moores on space trumpet, guitar and electronics. To this core I have added Reverend Grant Beale on Guitar and electronics and Evil Clown newbie William Middlemiss Jr on guitar and electronics. Grant was frequently on Leap of Faith, String Theory and Metal Chaos Ensemble sessions for a few years, and then we didn’t seem him too much for a year or two before the virus. He travels in from Connecticut which takes over an hour even when there is no traffic. Will has played with both Eric and Bob previously in the Boston area band Fablegrazer, which is a long running and varied electronic improvisation unit.
There was a first set for this band on the book which was cancelled for the virus. 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 band tilts more in the noise direction than typical of Metal Chaos Ensemble. Like the other Evil Clown bands, Simulacrum will be modular, taking on different formulations on different occasions. I am interested to see where this project goes as we continue.
- PEK (21 July 2021)