"A one-time student of the free improvisational saxophonist, George Garzone, the prolific David Peck (aka PEK) is a multi-instrumentalist/composer and the founder of Evil Clown Records. The ambitious scope of PEK's larger mission is wor...
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Label: Evil Clown
Catalog ID: 9091
Squidco Product Code: 24779
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters, in Waltham, Massachusetts, on January 21st, 2016.
David Peck (PEK)-tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, bass tromboon, contraAlto clarinet, gaunzi, sheng, metal, crotales/bells, daxophone, aquasonic, theremin, korg ms 20, daiko, guzheng, yanqin, whistles
Andria Nicodemou-vibes, crotales/bells, metal, aquasonic, daxophone, guzheng, yanqin
Yuri Zbitnoff-metal, drums, daiko, Indian Festival Drum, daxophone, vibes, aquasonic, crotales/bells, yanqin, voice
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Boston Area Improvisers
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"A one-time student of the free improvisational saxophonist, George Garzone, the prolific David Peck (aka PEK) is a multi-instrumentalist/composer and the founder of Evil Clown Records. The ambitious scope of PEK's larger mission is worth noting. The Evil Clown consortium operates, in part, as a large avant-garde cooperative of artists who may show up as part of the label's various groups -String Theory, Turbulence, New Language Collaborative, Leap of Faith and here, on Intermetallic Compounds from the Metal Chaos Ensemble. What all these groups have in common is an affinity for the unique vision PEK. Yuri Zbitnov, a regular in Leap of Faith and Metal Chaos Ensemble, juggles at least nine different "instruments" on Intermetallic Compounds and within that collection, he runs the gamut from traditional drums through the Chinese stringed instruments, the guzheng and yanqin. Vibraphonist Andria Nicodemou also plays the two Chinese instruments along with other instruments. PEK mans thesaxophones and an assortment similar to Zbitnov and Nicodemou. All in all, the three musicians manage about eighteen different instruments, few of them customary to any existing genre. The title track is the entire album, running a bit over forty-seven minutes. Much of the first ten minutes of "Intermetallic Compounds" are left to an arsenal of musical devices, bells, whistles and metal, almost delicately carving out a wave of sound. Yet "chaos" is not the atmosphere at all-not yet. As the layers begin to build, we enter into something like a grandfather clock factory run amok as sounds swirl together around a warped melody with PEK's saxophone becomes clearer. The sound gets angrier and the noise edgier as the tension builds, leading to a partial collapse into more primal territory and vocalizations that seem not quite human. Then the disarray fades and the sound becomes hypnotic once again. The music is as much about what individual instruments/devices can bring to the overall soundas it is about individual musicianship. In other words, PEK and company use every available tool to its maximum functionality on an extended aural improvisation that marries people and their tools. Intermetallic Compounds is mesmerizing and filled with an expectancy only for the next unexpected turn of events. This is living, breathing art in every sense of the word."-Karl Ackermann, All About Jazz
• Show Bio for David Peck (PEK)
"PEK (aka David Peck) is a multi-instrument improviser who plays all kinds of instruments including saxophones, clarinets, double reeds, percussion, electronics and auxiliary sound making devices of all kinds.
PEK was born in 1964 and started playing clarinet and piano in elementary school. In 7th grade he started saxophones, first on alto, then switching to tenor in high school. He spent 10 years playing in rock bands and studying classical and jazz saxophone with Kurt Heisig in the San Jose CA area before moving to Boston in 1989 to attend Berklee where he studied performance with George Garzone. While Berklee was an excellent place to study harmony, voice training and other important aspects of a conventional formal music training course of study, it was not a very good environment for learning contemporary (or pure) improvisation (apart from his work with George). PEK did find, however, that Boston had a thriving improvisation scene, and it was here that he developed his mature pure improvisation language.
During the 90s, PEK performed with many notable improvisers including Masashi Harada, Glynis Lomon, William Parker, Laurence Cooke, Eric Zinman, Glenn Spearman, Raqib Hassan, Charlie Kohlhase, Steve Norton, Keith Hedger, Mark McGrain, Sydney Smart, Matt Samolis, Martha Ritchey, Larry Roland, Dennis Warren, Yuri Zbitnov, Craig Schildhauer, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Leslie Ross, Rob Bethel, Wayne Rogers, Eric Rosenthal, Taylor Ho Bynum, Tatsuya Nakatani, James Coleman, B'hob Rainey and George Garzone.
PEK met cellist Glynis Lomon when they played together in the Masashi Harada Sextet which existed between 1990 and 1992. They developed a deep musical connection which they continued following the MHS; first with the Leaping Water Trio for a few years and then with the first version of Leap of Faith in 1994. Leap of Faith was very active in Boston from that time until 2001 and went through a series of several core ensembles which always included both PEK and Glynis. Other key Leap of Faith core members during this period were Mark McGrain (trombone), Craig Schildhauer (double bass), Sydney Smart (drums), Yuri Zbitnov (drums) and James Coleman (theremin). Leap of Faith was always a very modular unit with constantly shifting personnel and many different guests. The early Leap of Faith period concluded in 2001 with a dual bill at an excellent room at MIT called Killian Hall with George Garzone's seminal trio the Fringe.
At this time, PEK changed careers for his day gig, returning to college for a computer science degree and beginning to work in the structural engineering industry at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger. He became far too busy to continue the heavy music schedule, and preferring not to do music casually, he entered a long musically dormant period.
Flash forward to early 2014. PEK was a regular mail order customer of Downtown Music Gallery, the premiere specialty shop in Manhattan for free jazz, contemporary classical and other new music. While in New York on SGH business, he went down to DMG and had a lengthy conversation with proprietor Bruce Lee Gallanter about the early Leap of Faith period. He then sent Bruce a package of about 15 CD titles from the 90s and was pleasantly surprised when Bruce managed to sell nearly all of it. This public interest in the old catalog spurred PEK into getting back into performance. He reformed Leap of Faith with Glynis Lomon (cello, voice, aquasonic), Yuri Zbitnov (drums) and newcomer Steve Norton (clarinets and saxophones) and started to record and perform in early 2015.
Now having access to financial resources always absent in the early period, PEK began to accumulate a huge collection of instruments both for himself and also to expand the palate of Leap of Faith and the other projects soon to follow. He acquired new recording equipment and many new saxophones, clarinets, double reeds, metal and wooden percussion instruments, electronic instruments, signal processing equipment and other sound-making devices from many cultures. He revived his old record label, Evil Clown, and created reissues and new releases for much of the early period work by Leap of Faith and many of his other projects to sell at shows, DMG and the internet (around 100 archival titles).
The Arsenal of equipment has a grand purpose: To establish a large scale aesthetic problem to use the instruments to make long form broad palate improvisations with dramatic transformation and development. The very broad palate enables the long improvisations to evolve with very different movements and pronounced development over their length. PEK started the Leap of Faith Orchestra, a greatly expanded Leap of Faith, to achieve this purpose along with a number of smaller ensembles which are sub-units of the full orchestra including String Theory (focusing on orchestral strings), Metal Chaos Ensemble (focusing on metallic percussion), Turbulence (horn players), Mekaniks (electronics) and Chicxulub (space rock). In all, the Evil Clown roster includes over 40 musicians who contribute to one or more of the various projects, with PEK participating in all of them. Leap of Faith has also had some special guests like Steve Swell (trombone), Thomas Heberer (trumpet), Jeremiah Cymerman (clarinet) and Jim Hobbs (alto sax). The Leap of Faith Orchestra happens whenever several of these groups play together at the same time, or the ensemble exceeds 7 or 8 players. The Full Orchestra is a special case discussed below.
The current roster is comprised in part of: - Core Leap of Faith: PEK, Glynis Lomon, Yuri Zbitnov (Steve Norton has since left to go to Graduate School) - Percussion: Andria Nicodemou (vibes), Kevin Dacey (perc), Joe Hartigan (perc), Syd Smart (drums) - Strings: Jane Wang (cello), Clara Kebabian (violin), Tony Leva (bass), Mimi Rabson (violin), Kirsten Lamb (bass), Brendan Higgins (bass), Silvain Castellano (bass), Rob Bethel (cello), Kit Demos (bass), Matt Scutchfield (violin), Helen Sherrah-Davies (violin) - Piano: Eric Zinman, Peter Cassino, Emilio Gonzales - Horns: Dave Harris (tuba, trombone), Charlie Kohlhase (saxes), Bob Moores (trumpet), Sara Honeywell (trombone), Forbes Graham (trumpet), John Baylies (tuba), Dan O'Brien (woodwinds), Zack Bartolomei (woodwinds), Kat Dobbins (trombone), Steve Provizer (trumpet, baritone horn), Matt Samolis (flute) - Electronics: Greg Grinnell, Jason Adams (electric bass, electronics) - Guitar: Dru Wesely, Grant Beale, Chris Florio - Voice: Dei Xhrist
Evil Clown is documenting the ongoing solutions to this aesthetic challenge by creating limited CD editions and digital download albums of every performance and studio session by this array of ensembles. Interested audience can track the development of the grand scale project over the many releases - over 80 albums recorded and released so far between Jan of 2015 and March of 2017. All of the bands are highly modular, changing personnel and instrumentation with each meeting. The result is an enormous amount of music that shares the same fundamental improvisational language but differs from event to event greatly both in sonority (overall sound) and specific detail.
For the full Leap of Faith Orchestra, PEK composes a graphic notation score to guide the improvisation. The full Orchestra is comprised of roughly 20 players from the roster and performs twice a year. Two performances have occurred to date - The Expanding Universe in June of 2016 and Supernovae in November of 2016. Composition for Possible Universes is completed and the work will be performed on May 28, 2017 with another performance (score not yet begun) scheduled for November.
The scores use a device called Frame Notation where written English descriptions of the overall sonority desired and simple graphic symbols are given durations for each player on their part along with direction on when to play and when not to play. The directions are put in little boxes called frames which are arranged on a timeline and are simple enough to be immediately understood by the performers. Horizontal lines, called Duration Bars, extend across the page indicating when each Event (the Frame + the Duration Bar) begins and ends. An Event can be intended for the full ensemble, a defined group within the ensemble (for example, Metal Chaos Ensemble), a custom group (for example, Tubas), or an individual (for example, Andria Feature).
Parts are the full score annotated with Hiliters so that each player's instructions stand out. They can clearly see their individual instructions, but can also see the big picture, enabling far more knowledge about the pending actions of the rest of the ensemble than typical in pure improvisation. The players track the elapsed time on a very large sports clock. There is no melodic, harmonic or rhythmic information specified. This system allows PEK to compose detailed Ensemble Events without having to notate pitches or rhythms which would require significant rehearsal to accurately achieve."-All About Jazz (https://musicians.allaboutjazz.com/pek)
^ Hide Bio for David Peck (PEK)
• Show Bio for Andria Nicodemou
"Andria Nicodemou is a multifaceted musician from Cyprus, specializing in vibraphone and improvisation. She is a graduate from Corfu University in Classical Percussion and has received a Master's Degree from the New England Conservatory, in Contemporary Improvisation.
She has been working in diverse interdisciplinary art projects, with multi-media artists, dancers and actors in Europe and USA. She has worked with musicians such as Joe Morris, Anthony Coleman, Marty Ehrlich, Ikue Morri, Tayler Ho Bynum, Tatsuya Nakatani, Ab Baars, Anne La Berge, Gianni Lenoci, Jim Hobbs, Marc Sanders, among others. She was a guest performer at the London Improvisers Orchestra (2015) and the Royal Improvisers Orchestra in Amsterdam (2014).
Andria is the co-founder of the Thread Ensemble, a story-telling, improvisatory trio a result of a 2012 Ensemble Fellowship in NEC's Community Performances & Partnerships Department. With their unique teaching approach, Thread Ensemble has been performing and giving interactive workshops in the Boston Public Schools, ever since.
With her unique voice she has established herself as one of the important emerging musicians in the experimental, improvised music idioms.
In July of 2014 she received the honorary visa for prominent artistic personalities, 'Artist with an extraordinary ability in the fields of art' from the USA."-Evil Clown Website (http://www.giantevilclown.com/bio-andria-nicodemou.html)
^ Hide Bio for Andria Nicodemou
• Show Bio for Yuri Zbitnoff
"Yuri Zbitnoff is a drummer/composer/arranger who has been simultaneously providing cutting edge musical entertainment and fomenting revolution of the mind for over 20 years.
Yuri can be heard playing in Atompunk Go-Go Jazz pioneers Mission Creep as well as jazz/rock powerhouse, Axemunkee.
Yuri is perhaps best known for his nearly 10 year stint with the roiling cauldron of apocalyptic cosmic jazz thunder known as Enuma Elish.
From 2000 to 2008, Yuri ran Lithiq, a label dedicated to promoting music at the nexus of electronic music, jazz and rock. During this time, Yuri released albums by both Enuma Elish and Sky Saw and performed with SpiralZero, Caduceus, and many others.
Yuri's association with PEK dates back to the late 90's and includes numerous performances with Raqib Hassan's ensembles as well as Leap of Faith. All of these recordings are available on Evil Clown."-Evil Clown Website (http://www.giantevilclown.com/bio-yuri-zbitnov.html)
^ Hide Bio for Yuri Zbitnoff
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