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Abstract Intensions

Axioms: Abstract Intensions (Evil Clown)

Arranged around the core of bassist Albey onBass and poet Jane SpokenWord, who were a part of Cecil Taylor's final trio, this spoken word, drummer-less ensemble from the Boston-based Axiom collective is a live quartet performance with David Peck on reeds, winds, percussion & electronics, and Glynic Lomon on cello and aquasonic, in an extended, eclectic and electric discourse.

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Jane SpokenWord-poetry, spoken word, Tibetan bowls, gong

David Peck (PEK)-clarinet, contralto clarinet, contrabass clarinets, sopranino saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, alto flute, tarota, melodica, [d]ronin, 17 string bass, spring and chime rod boxes, theremin with moogerfooger, log drums, wood blocks, gongs, plate gong, crotales, glockenspiel, brontosaurus and tank bells, orchestral chimes, theremin with moogerfooger, prophet, novation peak, moog subsequent, syntrx, nord stage 3, chimes, Linnstrument controllers, recitation

Glynis Lomon-cello, aquasonic, voice

Albey onBass-fretless bass guitar, gongs, plate gong, brontosaurus bell, log drums, voice

Joel Simches-real time signal processing

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Label: Evil Clown
Catalog ID: 9329
Squidco Product Code: 33836

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters, in Waltham, Massachusetts, on February 21th, 2023.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Albey onBass and Jane SpokenWord were associated with Cecil Taylor's final trio. Following Cecil's passing they were in Boston for about a year in 2017-2018 and Albey performed a dozen or so times with Leap of Faith, Metal Chaos Ensemble and Turbulence. In November 2018, Albey and I had been discussing doing a duet, but we decided to include Jane's poetry as a trio. This new Evil Clown Ensemble we called Axioms, which to me is an apt name for a band which features words - something that most Evil Clown sessions do not.

There are two definitions:
1) a statement or proposition that is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true
2) a statement or proposition on which an abstractly defined structure is based (mathematics)
These two meanings bridge the distance between poetic discussion of truths and abstract musical structures.

A few months later, about a year before the virus, Albey and Jane moved to New Orleans, so the original session from December 2018, Manifestations, had been our only recording to date.

In July of 2021, Albey and Jane returned to the Northeast, splitting their time between New York and Boston. Albey has performed since then with many Evil Clown Ensembles, and this newest Axioms recording is the 7th set. Glynis Lomon, cellist from Leap of Faith has been on most of the newer Axioms recordings, so the most common unit is quartet.

Axioms is fundamentally different from the other Evil Clown Ensembles since it features Jane's poetry - Jane and Albey have performed many times together along with many notable players from the free improvisation scene. So, Axioms is really the Evil Clown setting for Jane and Albey's ongoing poetry project.

This is the first Axioms set since the studio upgrades have been finished at Evil Clown. With only 4 performers and no drum set, there was much more room than we had in the old studio space. We were able to set up in a circle facing each other, with the auxiliary instruments mounted to the walls around the perimeter. The new space is really fantastic, and I think the excitement of our first performance in the new space really shines through...

We had plenty of time for the setup/sound check for once, and we played a very nice short piece as a warmup/sound check which was recorded. Typically, Evil Clown recordings run an hour and 10 minutes which we track on a large sports clock. This time, I'm including the extra short piece as well."-David Peck, from the liner notes

Artist Biographies

"A poet of the street Jane SpokenWord's performances represent the spoken word as it is meant to be experienced, raw, uncensored and thought provoking. She believes that Words have Power. Her words speak to humanity, spirituality, soulfulness, ancestors, the yin of crying out against injustice and cruelty, and the yang of assimilating stardust and moonbeams and nature's beauty and the wisdom of the elders.

Committed to shine

To Black Lives Matter

To Standing Rock

To Dreamers

To Youth on the march

To Women on the move

To inspire tribal resolution

Where I and he and she and me

and the rest of yous including you and us become


She yields her pen like a warriors sword to inspire change. From solos, to slams, duo's, trios, and bands, she brings her poetry and spoken word to a diverse set of venues including museums, festivals, libraries, slam lounges, art galleries, clubs, busking street corners and living rooms everywhere.

Her notable performances and collaborations include; The Whitney Museum with Avant-Garde Maestro Cecil Taylor (All About Jazz's Best of 2016) Min Tanaka, Nuyorican Poet Miguel Algarin, Beat Poet John Sinclair, her son HipHop musician/producer DJ Nastee, and her partner in all things Albey onBass. To preserve the cultural heritage of wording to document life, and foster a broader collective community she combines the elements of spoken word, music, sound and song."

-Jane SpokenWord Website (

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"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 (

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"Improvising cellist, vocalist and aquasonic player Glynis Lomon graduated from Bennington College in 1975 with a degree in Music/Black Music. At Bennington she studied with musician/composer Bill Dixon and continued to perform and record with his ensembles until his recent death. Glynis has also been privileged to play with Arthur Brooks, Jimmy Lyons, Cecil Taylor, Butch Morris, William Parker, Joe Morris, Greta Buck, Masashi Harada, Lowell Davidson, Raqib Hassan and many others. For almost a decade she and multi reed player PEK performed in the Boston area with their group Leap of Faith."

-Evil Clown Website (

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

-Albey onBass Website (

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"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 (

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Track Listing:

1. Overture 4:07

2. Abstract Intentions 1:10:08

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Boston Area Improvisers
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Spoken Word
Quartet Recordings
New in Improvised Music

Search for other titles on the label:
Evil Clown.

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