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
“… an energy that is nothing short of interstellar… explosions of sound that intermittently upset the equilibrium in a series of dazzling tours-de-force… Who knows what aural Evil lurks in the hearts of men? These Clowns do.”
Turbulence projects are orchestrated for multiple horn players drawn from the Leap of Faith Orchestra, here using David Peck's Broad Palate concept to introduce multiple sonorities, in an octet of four trumpeters (Ellwood Epps, Bob Moores, Vance Provey and John Fugarino), one lower brass (Duane Reed) and three reeds (Peck, Michael Caglianone and Jared Holaday).
Review by Darren Bergstein, Downtown Music Gallery
TURBULENCE ORCHESTRA - Dynamos (Evil Clown 9311; USA) The latest missive from the Evil Clown in-house big band shakes the foundations gloriously, starting off like the slowly lumbering, calculating beast that it is, until the gargantuan soundstage simply swallows up its own field density whole. Naturally directed and lynch-pinned by master clown himself Dave PEK, Turbulence Orchestra’s mammoth sound creations are equal parts bombast, blim, bluster, and bodaciousness. PEK and his sparring partners (Joel Simches, Vance Provey, Bob Moores, Duane Reed and a host of others) wreak a tradition of ecstatic blowfests that summon the legacies of Ayler, Coltrane, Shepp, Roland Kirk, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and reunite their legacies in broad strokes which embrace the far-flung fantasies of Sun Ra, London Improvisers Orchestra, and Steve Lacy and Evan Parker’s multi-limbed outfits, lacing the entirety with an energy that is nothing short of interstellar. As usual, the company erect a widescreen piece over a hour in duration, through which their uncountable gaggle of horns, electronic interfaces, and percussive armament storm the countryside. Ten-plus minutes in finds PEK and his compadres reigning in the sonic lava to hesitantly probe about the studio, birthing ideas in bits and pieces, a sensitive move here, a more strident lick there, as atmospheric changes alter the barometric pressure until all hell eventually breaks loose. (The percussive stabs, gongs, and ring modulators buzz about like hornets in the distance.) This battle of the wills continues in varying fashion as our ears are treated to ever-shifting modes of saxophone irradiation, late-night meditative reverie, and explosions of sound that intermittently upset the equilibrium in a series of dazzling tours-de-force. Who knows what aural Evil lurks in the hearts of men? These Clowns do.
- Darren Bergstein, DMG
Audio CD Evil Clown 9322
Turbulence Orchestra - Dynamos
bandcamp: Streaming, downloads and CD Orders
Squidco: CD Orders
Dynamos - 1:10:13
PEK - clarinet, contralto & contrabass clarinets, alto, tenor & bass saxophones, bass flute, tarota, bass tromboon, melodica, bass ocarinas, bass recorder, goat horn, fog horns, triple slide whistle, [d]ronin, 17-string bass, novation peak, moog subsequent, prophet, Linnstrument controllers, chime rod boxes, spring boxes, gongs, plate gong, crotales, Tibetan bell, crank siren, brontosaurus & tank bells, log drums, wood blocks, almglocken, chimes, voice
David Welans - flute, piccolo, dizi-boehm flute, Englephone, log drums, wood blocks, temple blocks, cymbells
Dennis Livingston - flute, recorders, ocarinas, assorted bottles, cymbells, log drums, Englephone
Michael Caglianone - soprano, alto & tenor saxophones. water bottle, tiny slide whistle, cow bells, gongs, plate gong, almglocken, 17-string bass, chime rod boxes, spring boxes
Bob Moores - trumpet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet, shofar, wind siren, gongs, almglocken, balafon, chimes, Tibetan bowls, 17-string bass, Englephone, glockenspiel, log drums, brontosaurus bell, orchestral anvils, voice, laughter
Eric Dahlman - trumpet, pocket trumpet, throat singing, recorder, whistle, Tibetan bowls, balafon, glockenspiel, bell, prophet, moog subsequent, novation peak, Linnstrument controllers
Duane Reed - baritone horn, bass trombone, overtone voice, moog subsequent, novation peak, Linnstrument controllers, wood blocks, temple blocks, 17 string bass, Englephone, chimes, trine, temple bell
Kat Dobbins - trombone, voice, Tibetan bowls, almglocken, balafon, orchestral anvils
Joel Simches - live-to-2 track recording, real time signal processing
Turbulence Orchestra - Dynamos
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
27 August 2022
Liner Notes by PEK
I formed Turbulence in 2015 as I started to assemble players for the Leap of Faith Orchestra. Turbulence, the extended horn section for the Orchestra (along with guests on other instruments), also records and performs as an independent unit. As if this writing in 2021, we have recorded over 30 albums on Evil Clown with greatly varied ensembles. All the smaller Evil Clown bands are really more about a general approach, rather than a specific set of musicians. A session gets credited to Turbulence when it is mostly horn players and the only musician on all of them is me. The sessions range from an early duet with Steve Norton and me (Vortex Generation Mechanisms) to a 5-horn band with bass and two percussionists (Encryption Schemes) to four albums by the side project Turbulence Doom Choir which feature myself, multiple tubas, percussion, electronics, and signal processing and many other configurations.
Currently, the Evil Clown Roster has about 20 horn players. When I schedule Turbulence sets, I put one on the weekend and one on a weeknight since some players can only do one or the other. This is the first session of the third cycle of Turbulence sets since vaccines became available and I started having YouTube LiveStreaming sets at Evil Clown Headquarters. Since so many players are available, I’m working on the problem of large ensemble improvisation with big groups of Evil Clown regulars mixed with some relative newbies…
The ensemble ended up numbering 8, including four trumpeters, one lower brass and three reeds. The trumpet section is extraordinary including Ellwood Epps (who has played with Glynis Lomon’s NLC), Bob Moores (long-time Evil Clown regular), Vance Provey (relative new-comer to Evil Clown becoming a frequent contributor), and John Fugarino (blast from the past… Glynis and I played with John in the Masashi Harada Sextet for a few years in the early 90s). Low brass is handled by regular Duane Reed, and the reeds are myself, Michael Caglianone and new-comer Jared Jared Holaday.
I’m super happy with this session. The regulars and the newer arrivals really played extremely well together, listening intently and exercising admirable restraint. 8 players is a large band for pure improvisation; when an ensemble reaches 8 players in size or larger I refer to it as an improvisation orchestra, hence the name of this ensemble is Turbulence Orchestra. Generally speaking, as ensemble size increases, so increases the difficulty of making music which is well-formed and tight. I’m very interested in the aesthetic problems of larger group pure improvisations. My Broad Palate concept is a solution to this problem which works by introducing many different possible sonorities. Over the duration of the work, the combination of instruments undergoes tremendous variation, leading to a sequence of very different movements. Most of the players on Dynamos play several horns, and also auxiliary percussion and the other instruments which are strewn all throughout the studio.
Anyway, I like this set and I bet you will too…
On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff