The Squid's Ear Magazine


Expanse: Swathe (Evil Clown)

After receiving interest in joining the Evil Clown collective from Count Robot and DNA Girl (Deb Angelosanto), and in parallel from guitarist Tim Mungenast, collective director David Peck scheduled a session for this 7th Expanse album, adding drummer Michael Knoblach to complete this quintet configuration of the band's electric-oriented approach to space and restraint.
 

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David Peck (PEK)-clarinet, contralto clarinet, contrabass clarinet, alto saxophone, bass saxophone, tarota, bass flute, melodica, theremin with moogerfooger, syntrx, nord stage 3, prophet, korg mini, novation peak, moog subsequent, lfo synths, Linnstrument controllers, [d]ronin, 17 string bass, guqin, nagoya, spring and chime rod boxes, bowed cymbal, crotales, glockenspiel, gongs, plate gong, brontosaurs and tank bells, cow bells, orchestral chimes, chimes, Englephone, Tibetan bowls, danmo, wood blocks, voice

Deb Angelosanto-(DNA Girl) gold tone octave mandolin, gokeys keyboard, tongue drum, Tibetan bowl, electric kalimba, spring and chime rod boxes, vocals

Count Robot-weird sound generator, stylophone, thera synth, fx, voice, novation peak, moog subsequent, Korg mini, Linnstrument controllers, chime rod and spring boxes

Tim Mungenast-electric guitar, homemade sprint instruments, bells, overtone singing and cubist blather, effects, spring and chime rod boxes, electric kalimba, rocks, Englephone, orchcestral chimes

Michael Knoblach-frame drum, busy box drum, tank drum, enamel bowls, devil chasers axatse, abacuses, African rattles, Fischer Price toys, sheep shears, wooden billiards triangle, titfer, bells, sand blocks, antique child rattles, horses ass a phone, basket of rocks, spooky world noise makers, spinning toy, acme siren whistle, mortar and pestle, lobster pot


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Label: Evil Clown
Catalog ID: 9330
Squidco Product Code: 33837

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters, in Waltham, Massachusetts, on March 11th, 2023.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"This is now the seventh set from Expanse, although Michael Knoblach has also appeared on Leap of Faith sessions. Some of the Expanse sets have featured mostly acoustic instrumentation, and some of them have included more electronic instrumentation.

During the break for new studio construction for a few months at the end of last year I heard from some relatively local folks who are fans of our work here at Evil Clown Headquarters. Count Robot and DNA Girl reached out on Facebook and expressed an interest in doing a set. It turns out that they know Michael from way back, so I scheduled an Expanse set with them as the guests. Separately, Tim reached out with the same request, and it turned out that he knows them and Michael as well, so I added him to the set.

Swathe leans even more to the electronic side than the most electronic trio set featuring Eric Woods on analog synths. Count Robot plays strictly electronic instruments made up of a table of knob-twiddling boxes. DNA girl plays a synth programmed with a lot of unusual sounds, and an octave mandolin run through effects. Tim plays electric guitar with a big batch of stomp boxes for a processed sound. All the new guests also experimented with the percussion and electronic instruments permanently set up in the revamped studio space.

I found that I spent less time on the horns than I usually do in most Evil Clown sessions. The combination of the mostly electronic sounds from the guests together with the unusual sounds from Michael's percussion rig, inspired me to spend more time on the Tim Kaiser electro-acoustic instruments, the synthesizer section, the strings section and the percussion. All told, it was a very satisfying session completely different than any other set from any of the Evil Clown Ensembles."-David Peck, from the liner notes


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)
12/6/2023

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

"DNA Girl (AKA Deb Angelosanto) spent many years in theatre and musical theater. Also, in her college years she sang lead in the band Legacy, but gravitated more towards theatre after the band broke up. It was while acting in a series of Dinner & Death murder mysteries she met an inspiring poet/actor "Count Robot" (AKA Paul Angelosanto) who would lead her down a more musically geared path and change her life forever. He also became her husband. Starting as Paul Angelosanto and the melting poetry collective in the late 90's/early00's, they evolved into Astro Al around 2004, which they refer to as psychedelic children's music for adults. Later they teamed up with Tim Mungenast and have produced several CD's together. Later, along with Tim, they formed Amplissima with Eric Dahlman. During the pandemic they started another experimental music act with Static Apparitions, with just the two of them. They will be performing as Static Apparitions in Wonder Valley Experimental in 29 Palms, CA, no longer just performing for the the ghosts of long dead celebrities. DNA Girl hopes there will be some live bodies in the audience this time. The goal of both Static Apparitions, and Amplissima is to demonstrate how music is all around us in nature and the environment. Thank you Pek for having us join you in your Evil Clown music hall."

-Evil Clown (https://www.evilclown.rocks/bio-dna-girl.html)
12/6/2023

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

"Count Robot was created to carve audio stupidity into art. Since being conjured into existence, Count has been a member of the following active music projects; Astro Al, Amplissima, and Static Apparitions. In another form Count has also contributed words and occasionally performed with Georgia space metal rockers, Spaceseed. The Count has well over 40 recordings to his credit.

What else can be said about this space buffoon? He's wanted for public onstages displays of moronics in Austin Texas, Cullman Alabama, Portland Maine, and New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Bromsgrove England, and Massachuestts."

-Evil Clown (https://www.evilclown.rocks/bio-count-robot.html)
12/6/2023

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

"Tim Mungenast is a surrealist guitar shaman with an almost messianic sense of purpose.

He plays both mystical improv and 60s-flavored rock that flirts with psychosis, featuring odd chords and even odder lyrics (not to mention some really weird sounds). His improbably catchy songs often melt into loopy extended jams a la early Pink Floyd."

-Tim Mungenast Bandcamp (https://timmungenast.bandcamp.com/)
12/6/2023

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

"Michael Knoblach Percussion---Knoblach has played with Ad Frank, Twitcher, Reg Bloor (from Glenn Branca Ensemble), Cul de Sac, John Fahey, Jon LaMaster's Saturnalia, Neovoxer Ensemble, The Boston Village Gamelan, Kiniwe African Percussion Ensemble, Donald "the junkman" Knaack (ex-John Cage), The Calypso Invaders, The Valhalla Kittens, Emily Grogan, Ted Drozdowski's The Scissormen, The Trojan Ponies, Ken Lovelett, John Amaral, Tim Mungenast, Bill T. Miller and others. He played the New Year's Countdown in Copley Square for Boston, MA for a number of years. He has done soundtrack work for the Troma Films release "Terror Firmer." Michael has had extensive studies in Arabic hand drumming and classical Egyptian tambourine, as well as having studied tabla and North Indian classical music with Ali Akbar Khan and Swapan Chaudhuri. He studied drum set with Gene Piccolo (ex-Jack McDuff, ex-Woody Herman, ex-Glenn Miller Band and Piccolo was a long time student of Ed Thigpen (Oscar Peterson Trio, more...) and Shelly Manne (Stan Kenton, more...)). He is currently playing percussion with Dahlman & Nugent in the band Auddity and is playing washboard and old timey percussion with banjo/fiddle player Nicholas Bogosian, as well as other projects."

-Touhey Gallery (http://www.touhey.com/upcoming.html)
12/6/2023

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


Track Listing:



1. Swathe 1:09:56

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Quintet Recordings
Boston Area Improvisers
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

Search for other titles on the label:
Evil Clown.


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