The Squid's Ear Magazine


Expanse: Reach (Evil Clown)

Perhaps the most synthetic of Evil Clown releases, Expanse represents space and restraint, this the 8th album from the Boston improvising collective of David Peck on reeds, winds, synths and percussion, Robin Amos on synths, Michael Knoblach on percussion (including egg beater, humpty dumpty toy, and teething rings) and Joel Simches providing real-time processing; inexplicably interesting.
 

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David Peck (PEK)-clarinet, contralto and contrabass clarinets, alto and tenor saxophones, bass tromboon, melodica, [d]ronin, 17 string bass, theremin with moogerfooger, ms20, novation peak, moog subsequent, syntrx, arp odyssey, prophet, Linnstrument controllers, soma pipe with game calls, spring and chime rod boxes, crotales, glockenspiel, Tibetan bowls and bells, chimes, electric chimes, crotales, glockenspeil, brontosaurus and tank bells, gongs, plate gong, temple blocks, log drums, seed pod rattle, orchestral castanets, cow bells, Englephone, aquasonic, danmo, wood and temple blocks, almglocken, orchestral chimes, orchestral anvils, chair squeaking

Robin Amos-synthestizers, autoharp, spring and chime rod boxes, gavel

Michael Knoblach-Bodhran, jaw harp, copper bowl, enamel bowls, sand blocks, African circumcision rattles, slinky, tit fers, wooden billiards triangle, train whistle, acme siren whistle, meinl helix bowls, scraper, xmas ornaments, clock chime, marbles in plastic container, tiny sleigh bells, glass furniture carpet protectors, ratchets, tiny seed pod shakers, huge seed pods, medium seed pods, gong, party time balloon pump, fishing reel, wooden robot, Griswold cast iron skillets, nails in baby food jar, flex a tones, horses ass a phone, vibratones, whisk, abacuses, metal pot scrubbers, basket of rocks, turtle skin rattle, egg beater, happy apple, pitchforks, devil chasers, wood shakers, fisher price turtle, fisher price bee, first years clown, humpty dumpty toy, spooky world noise makers, plastic tubes, castanets, Victorian children's rattles, antique Asian bronze children's rattles, healing balls, mortar and pestle, confirmation bells, wooden bell, sleigh bells, elephant bell, sistrum, antique sheep shears, axatse, scalp massagers, basket rattles, metal rattle, African wood blocks with stone inside, Chicxulub dinosaur and star teething rings, bags of marbles, water filled mason jar, magic wands, water filled lobster pot, palm frond rattles, plastic ball rattles, American Percussion busy box drum

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


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Label: Evil Clown
Catalog ID: 9339
Squidco Product Code: 33970

Format: CDR
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters, in Waltham Massachusetts, on May 31st, 2023.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"In May of 2021, I opened Evil Clown Headquarters to other fully vaccinated musicians, and the first session of the new age was scheduled for the second set of the Expanse sound world. Michael and I both enjoyed the auspicious first set right before the pandemic shut down and collaboration became an ongoing Evil Clown project, both as a duet for some sets and as a larger unit for others. As an ongoing project, it needed a permanent name, so after some thought I came up with Expanse which evokes space and restraint, the central idea behind this ensemble.

This is now the eighth set from Expanse, although Michael has also appeared on Leap of Faith and Metal Chaos Ensemble sessions. Some of the Expanse sets have featured mostly acoustic instrumentation, and some of them have included more electronic instrumentation. Reach is the third album to have a significant electronic emphasis. The first, Chromatic Spectrum (4/28/2022), featured Evil Clown regular Eric Woods, who is a core member of Metal Chaos Ensemble and Simulacrum and a frequent guest of Leap of Faith. The second, Swathe (3/11/2023), features three newbies (DNA Girl, Count Robot and Tim Mungenast) on mostly electronic instruments. They all caught on to us from the LIVESTREAMING shows and since they had a long connection with Michael, we got them down for a session.

The current set, Reach, features Robin Amos, founding member of the seminal 90s era Boston band Cul de Sac. Both Michael and Yuri Zbitnov (house drummer from 2015 to 2021) were affiliated with Cul de Sac for some of their lengthy run. Robin plays the EML 101, a 70s era portable patch-synthesizer. He plays other instruments of course, but this analog synth has an excellent sound palate and he has exquisite control over its capabilities.

With the band being a trio and with Michael on his quiet percussion stuff, this set is at a lower mean dynamic than other Evil Clown ensembles. It is a classic broad palate improvisation with the long piece moving organically through many sonorites in movements of 3 to 5 minutes.

I found that I spent less time on the horns than I usually do in most Evil Clown sessions. The combination of the electronic sounds from Robin 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)
6/17/2024

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

"Robin Amos is an American keyboardist and founding member of the band Cul de Sac. His first band was The Girls, a punk band that Amos founded in the late 1970s with George Condo, Mark Dagley and Daved Hild. He continued to explore that band's sound with his next band Shut Up, which he formed with guitarist Glenn Jones."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Amos)
6/17/2024

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)
6/17/2024

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)
6/17/2024

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


Track Listing:



1. Reach 1:07:33

2. Grasp 5:03

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Piano & Keyboards
Percussion & Drums
Woodwinds
Recordings by or featuring Reed & Wind Players
Boston Area Improvisers
Quartet Recordings
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

Search for other titles on the label:
Evil Clown.


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