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.
Leap of Faith Orchestra performs
by Karl Ackermann, AllAboutJazz.com
Photos by Raffi,
Audio CD Evil Clown 9177
Turbulence - Vorticity
Streaming, downloads and CD Orders
Vorticity - 1:09:51
PEK - clarinet & contraalro clarinet, sopranino,
alto & bass saxophones, english horn, tarota,
contrabassoon, sheng, slide whistles, hand chimes,
metal, wood, log drums, balafon, taxi horn
Eric Dahlman - trumpet, overtone singing, duck
call, hand chimes, metal, recorder
Jim Warshauer - alto & tenor saxophones, hand
chimes, crotales, metal, wood, orchestral chimes,
Yuri Zbitnov - drums, orchestral chimes,
hand chimes, log drum, balafon, voice
Turbulence - Vorticity
Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA
21 April 2018
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 March 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.
I recently ran across trumpeter Eric Dahlman who played with Leap of Faith bassist Craig Schildhauer in the 90s when Leap of Faith was first active. He came down for the last Leap of Faith Orchestra performance at Third Life Studios a few months ago. He plays with a bunch of different improvisers in the Boston area. I always love recruiting players with prior associations with other musicians, since when several people with long relationships join the project together, the ensembles benefit from their history.
Eric has a band and a long association with reedman Jim Warshauer. For Vorticity, I invited Eric and Jim to join myself and Yuri Zbitnov, the primary drummer/percussionists for the many Evil Clown ensembles. This was a great set, which leverages the skills two deeply connected duets. As usual, for sessions at Evil Clown Headquarters, we filled the room with as many percussion instruments as we could fit in the space. All of the horn players used a variety of the available auxiliary instruments, changing instruments fairly frequently, naturally resulting in a steady stream of transformations through a wide variety of sonorities. Eric also has great skill in overtone singing, so I hooked him up with a mic that had delay and some other processing. Because the mic was hot to properly amplify his voice, the whole room picked up a bit of this wet sound through the duration of the work.
Another fabulous session from your pals at Evil Clown!
PEK – 4/27/2018
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