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Metal Chaos Ensemble: Beyond the Holy Mountain (Evil Clown)

With a core of Leap of Faith members (David Peck, Glynis Lomon & Yuri Zbitnov) along with trumpet, bass, computer & electronics, Moog, and analog synth, this rendering of Boston's far-ranging collective, using David Peck's framework compositions and arsenal of instruments, takes their listeners through controlled cosmic chaos with recitation and electronic companionship; wild!
 

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product information:


Label: Evil Clown
Catalog ID: 9208
Squidco Product Code: 27984

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters , in Waltham, Massachusetts, on February 23rd, 2019.


Personnel:

David Peck (PEK)-alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass saxophone, clarinet, contralto clarinet, tarota, bass tromboon, synthesizers, tibetan bowls, brontasaurus bells, tank bells, wood, metal, recitation, software

Bob Moores-laptop, iPad, synthesizer, Kracklebox, guitar effects, space Trumpet, tibetan bowls, log drums, balafon, wood, metal

Eric Woods-analog synth

Grant Beale-computer, electronics

Albey onBass-electric bass

Yuri Zbitnoff-drum set, daiko, Orchestral chimes, tibetan bowls, brontasaurus bells, tank bells,[d]ronin, metal, wood, recitation

Joel Simches-live to 2 track recording, real time signal processing

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Artist Biographies:

"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)
10/9/2019

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Bob Moores Having spent most of his life flying under the radar working on obscure projects that may some day come to the light of day, trumpeter/guitarist/composer/improviser/artist/photographer/poet/conceptualist Bob Moores has finally started to emerge into the light playing in the free improvisation collective Fable Grazer and through his solo project Resonator.

Having played every kind of music imaginable on trumpet in every kind of setting from classical to funk to blues to R&B to pop punk and metal to jazz, in small and large ensembles, Bob has settled on playing only freely improvised music at this stage of his evolution, both in group situations and as a solo artist. Moores is an exponent of what he calls unschooled primitive coloristic guitar having started to play in earnest with Fable Grazer.

He has been composing music since he was a child and composes and arranges for a variety of ensembles types, instrumentations and genres."

-Evil Clown Website (http://www.giantevilclown.com/bio-bob-moores.html)
10/9/2019

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Originally trained as an electric bassist in funk and jazz in high school, Eric's interest in new music began after studying at Northeastern's Music Technology program, composing acousmatic music on the computer, with an interest in mixed electronic works for live performance, as well as algorithmic and chance operations. While at Northeastern, Eric honed his improvisation skills in the Electronic Music Ensemble, performing pieces such as John Zorn's "Cobra" and Stockhausen's "From the Seven Days".

After college, Eric began playing mandolin as a founding member of the improv collective Fable Grazer. Craving more of the sonic flexibility of his earlier computer music work, Eric was drawn to modular synthesizers in 2012, which has became his primary instrument. He records and performs solo work under the moniker Machine Machine that are largely unedited, improvised recordings. Last year, Eric went on his first nation-wide tour as the synth player in the psychedelic electronic folk trio Vilicon Sally."

-Evil Clown (http://www.evilclown.rocks/bio-eric-woods.html)
10/9/2019

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Grant Beale is a Boston-area guitarist, an artist Instructor at Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.

-Grant Beale Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/grant.beale.3/about?lst=1389755694%3A100000004118233%3A1538596256§ion=year-overviews)
10/9/2019

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Albey Balgochian performs on bass, who has performed with Cecil Taylor, Paul Rishell and has led his own band.

-Albey onBass Website (http://www.albeybalgochian.com/index.html)
10/9/2019

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"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)
10/9/2019

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Joel Simches: A multi-instrumentalist born 10/18/65, Joel Simches has been an active member of the Boston music scene for 35 years, played in well over 40 bands, traveling the world as a musician, audio engineer, tour manager and record producer. He has worked with a diverse array of bands including Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys, DeVotchKa, Bang Camaro, Dresden Dolls and Big Dipper, to name a few. He has also written for The Noise and Boston Soundcheck Magazine. Currently a staff engineer at Watch City Studios, Joel also plays in Count Zero, Joe Turner and the Seven Levels, Butterscott, Nisi Period, Didactics, Curious Ritual and is executive producer/talent booker of On The Town with Mikey Dee on WMFO."

-Evil Clown (http://www.giantevilclown.com/bio-joel-simches.html)
10/9/2019

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:


1. Beyond The Holy Mountain 1:10:51
sample the album:








descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Metal Chaos Ensemble (MCE) was formed in early 2015 by PEK and Yuri Zbitnov as a working project to explore chaotic rhythms on metallic instruments. I had started to amass the Evil Clown Arsenal of percussion, electronic and wind instruments and we needed a workshop to develop this universe of sounds for the Leap of Faith Orchestra. It was immediately obvious that Metal Chaos Ensemble had a sound to itself and over the last three years has been one of the most prolific Evil Clown ensembles. We have produced a bunch of albums covering a wide range of sonority sets, but always with the presence of Gongs, chimes, glockenspiel, Tibetan Bowls and many other metallic sounds and the horns of PEK. All Metal Chaos Ensemble sessions include at least myself and Yuri, along with a whole bunch of different guests

For around 2 years now, I have been using the Ableton software to create electronic mixes which we use in several of the bands as an accompaniment track. In performance, I ride the fader from off to very present, but most of the time more to the background. Raw samples are taken from the Evil Clown Catalog and also specially recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters with instruments drawn from the Evil Clown arsenal. I then use Adobe Audition to process the samples and finally Ableton to assemble a timeline and create a mix. Most of the more recent MCE sessions use one of these mixes

MCE has had many different formations, but for about a year we have really focused more on an electronics/percussion blend. In addition to the Ableton mix, we now have regular Eric Woods on analog synth, trumpeter and guitarist Bob Moores is bringing a bunch of electronic instruments, Reverend Grant Beale on computer/electronics instead of his customary guitar, and several synths and a great AKAI wind controller in the Evil Clown Arsenal. With this many electronic instruments the mix has become complex enough that I get Joel Simches to come and run the recording board. We've had 8 MCE sets since February 2018 which are variations on this general scheme (see below). Albey onBass is a brilliant electric bass and electric upright bass player who has been a heavy presence in the Evil Clown scene since July of last year - He is on three of these sets. Albey played with Cecil Taylor extensively prior to Cecil's passing. Albey and Jane are moving back to New Orleans quite soon - we will miss him, but wish him well!!!

Due to the massive set of equipment required for a proper MCE session, we have staged only a few public performances and most of the 40 albums recorded since 2015 are studios sessions recorded at my home studio, Evil Clown Headquarters. Since fall of 2018, we have been LIVE STREAMING these performances in addition to my regular posts on bandcamp, YouTube, & soundcloud, and a number of internet stores for CDs and downloads. This performance is the first one to use a multi-camera mix for the LIVE STREAM. In the fall, I got a new computer and the hardware to do it, but the video capture card I got to send the video mix into the computer was really fussy. I did more internet research and ordered one from Japan that video gamers use. It took a while to show up and then a while before I had time to attempt the full set up, but that time has come - look forward to more ECH shows on Youtube and eventually other streaming platforms!

This album title refers to an amazing psychedelic movie from 1973 called Holy Mountain (directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky). It is a genius work of symbolic story telling with an amazing soundtrack by Don Cherry. Yuri and I love this movie, and though we usually do not make references to pop culture we are making an exception in this instance. I found a bunch of excerpts of the dialog on the web, printed them out and Yuri and I take turns reciting the text..

Here is one the excerpts we used:

"The grave receives you with love. Surrender yourself to the Earth. Return what was loaned to you. Give up your pleasure, your pain, your friends, your lovers, your life, your past, what you desire. You will know nothingness, it is the only reality. Don't be afraid, it's so easy to give. You're not alone, you have a grave. It was your first mother. The grave is the door to your rebirth. Now you will surrender the faithful animal you once called your body. Don't try to keep it, remember, it was a loan. Surrender your legs, your sex, your hair, your brain, your all. You no longer want to possess, possession is the ultimate pain. The earth covers your body, she came to cover you with love, because she is your true flesh. Now you are an open heart, open to receive your true essence your ultimate perfection. Your new body, which is the universe, the work of god. You will be born again, you will be real. you will be your own father, your own mother, your own child, your own perfection. Open your eyes, you are the earth, you are the green, you are the blue, you are the Aleph, you are the essence. Look at the flower, look at the flower, for the first time look at the flowers."

"-PEK, 2/24/2019

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