On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Photos by Raffi
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 9198
Turbulence - Method of Fluxions
Method of Fluxions - 1:10:25
PEK - alto, tenor & bass saxophones, clarinet &
contraalto clarinet, tarota, contrabassoon, wood
flute, slide whistles, [d]ronin, ms-20, daxophone,
brontosaurus & tank bells, brake drums, wood,
Zack Bartolomei - soprano & alto saxophones, flute,
wind & crank siren, balafon, log drums,
glockenspiel, brontosaurus & tank bells, Orchestral
Jim Warshauer - alto & tenor saxophones, wood flute,
crotales, diako, brake drums, brontosaurus & tank
bells, frame drum, bar stool, balafon, glockenspiel,
orchestral chimes, wood, metal, wind & crank
Eric Dahlman - trumpet, piccolo trumpet, trident,
overtone voice, recorder, game galls, brake drums,
Bob Moores - space trumpet, log drums, balafon, wood
flute, glockenspiel, [d]ronin, metal, wood, crank &
brake drums, crotales, cymbells, log drums, balafon,
metal, wood, voice
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. We have had over 20 albums on Evil Clown with greatly varied ensembles. The only musician on all of them is myself. The sessions range from an early duet with Steve Norton and Myself (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.
For this set, we have a band like the 6 horn + percussion show at Outpost 186 from about 2 months ago (Flow Across Scales) with the addition of Albey onBass on electric bass and without 6th horn player Dan O’Brien… The other main difference is venue: Flow Across Scales was in the tiny OP186 space with a bare minimum of equipment and Method of Fluxions was at Evil Clown Headquarters with a full percussion set up. Most of these players, all of whom have done a number of Evil Clown sessions, are multi-instrumentalists whose vocabularies are substantially extended by the Evil Clown Arsenal more fully available at ECH than typical of shows at outside venues. I was delighted with the flow through sonorities of this performance as the seven musicians formed dozens of different configurations of instrumentation.
Also, this set marks the beginning of the new era at Evil Clown where ECH sessions are streamed on YouTube (and eventually via other streaming platforms). I have spent the last month or so acquiring the necessary equipment including a new powerful computer to manage the stream and the OBS software which allows a real time mix from multiple sources. The stream for this performance marks a modest beginning, since I was having trouble with the video capture card which imports video into the computer from the digital movie cameras. Consequently, I attempted to use a single webcam for the video source, but I actually only managed to broadcast the audio… Anyhow, look for a much more sophisticated solution to the streaming problem in future Evil Clown sets from ECH (and perhaps later even at public performances in our other venues).
One final note: there is a weird anomaly which occurs 5 or 6 times over the length of the piece where a jump cut abruptly happens to some other part of the piece for a few seconds. Very strange and I have no idea how it happened or how to fix it, but the performance is so good that I’m publishing it to the usual places anyway…
PEK – 11/9/2018
Turbulence - Method of Fluxions
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
7 October 2018
Killer septet Turbulence session brought to you by Sparkles down at Evil Clown Headquarters.... 5 horns with bass, drums and tons of percussion by everyone...
I was delighted with the flow through sonorities of this performance as the seven musicians formed dozens of different configurations of instrumentation. - PEK
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff