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 9207
Turbulence - Transient Boundaries
bandcamp: Streaming, downloads and CD Orders
Edges - 1:10:29
PEK - alto, tenor & bass saxophones, clarinet & contralto clarinet, tarota, contrabassoon, bass tromboon, alto flute, sheng, melodica, game calls, gong, wood, metal
Zack Bartolomei - soprano & alto saxophones, clarinet, flute, piano, gong, wood, metal
Dan O’Brien - tenor & baritone saxophones, clarinet, bass clarinet, GOng, wood, metal
Photos by Raffi
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff
Leap of Faith Orchestra performs
by Karl Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com
On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Turbulence - Transient Boundaries
Outpost 186, Cambridge MA
16 February 2019
Excerpt Liner Notes by PEK (full notes below)
"... One of the things I like about this Turbulence trio is that Zack and Dan are themselves also multi-instrumentalists and are very comfortable using the auxiliary instruments. Consequently, the form of the improvisation naturally evolves through a series of very different sonorities. This is a general tenant of the Evil Clown Aesthetic, well achieved here with a relatively small ensemble."
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 May of 2018, we have had about 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.
Zack Bartolomei and Dan O’Brien joined the Evil Clown roster a while back and have played with Leap of Faith, Leap of Faith Orchestra, and other projects. They go way back with each other. I love it when I find a group of improvisers who have long history with each other who are eager to participate since the whole ensemble benefits from the prior experience of the previously established sub-units.
Transient Boundaries is the fourth set by this trio version of Turbulence (5th if you count the one we did last fall where I forgot to press record) and is very tight due to theses sessions and the number of other Evil Clown sessions with all three of us performing as part of a larger ensemble. In July 2017, we recorded the first of these trio sets, Agitation, and then in March 2018 we recorded the second, Incompressible Flow and finally in May we recorded Buoyancy. This is a highly effective trio version of Turbulence that we plan do again in the future.
The other performances have all been studio sessions at Evil Clown Headquarters, where we have the advantage of the availability of the full Evil Clown Arsenal of instruments and equipment. The rig is always a bit different, since there is more gear than there is space, but the most of the larger percussion instruments are all included. This time was a public performance at Outpost 186 and we had a sparser population of percussion including one gong, and smaller wood and metal instruments. One of the things I like about this Turbulence trio is that Zack and Dan are themselves also multi-instrumentalists and are very comfortable using the auxiliary instruments. Consequently, the form of the improvisation naturally evolves through a series of very different sonorities. This is a general tenant of the Evil Clown Aesthetic, well achieved here with a relatively small ensemble.
Links to earlier sessions with this trio Turbulence ensemble...
Turbulence - Agitation
Evil Clown Album Page: http://www.evilclown.rocks/t-agitation.html
Turbulence - Incompressible Flow
Evil Clown Album Page: http://www.evilclown.rocks/t-incompressible-flow.html
Turbulence - Buoyancy
Evil Clown Album Page: http://www.evilclown.rocks/t-buoyancy.html
PEK - 2/17/2018