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PEK: Leap of Faith Orchestra - Possible Universes

Karl Ackermann By

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Possible Universes is the latest release from the multi-faceted Leap of Faith collective. In the orchestra formation, the group has released some half-dozen recordings but the "full" orchestra is a biannual occurrence where the normally fifteen-piece ensemble grows. On this album, the collaborative expands to twenty-four musicians and, as always, the long-time anchors are composer and reed player PEK (David Peck) and cellist Glynis Lomon.

As is often the circumstance in Leap of Faith Orchestra recordings, the album consists of one very long (almost eighty minutes) title track. The highly capable improvisers engaged by PEK are participating in the composer's unique method of Frame Notation where (as he describes in the liner notes) ..,"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 notation looks more like playoff brackets but within are the only directions that the composer chooses to offer—the mechanics of "who" and "when." What is not within the brackets are melodic or rhythmic data, placing Possible Universes in an often frenzied situation as the improvisations develop within controlled blocks of time and space.

Along with strings and three basses, a large assortment of percussion instruments, and two tubas, the orchestra utilizes an assortment of non-conventional devices such as bullroarers, claves, flex-a-tones, slide whistles, wind sirens, crank sirens, bells, Tibetan bowls, ratchets and a tube-o-phone. Even in the midst of scores of instruments, the piece utilizes silence as a much-needed balance. The Leap of Faith catalog has grown at a rapid pace in recent years; remarkable in that the collective and the enormous orchestra stay largely intact through these always complex works. Possible Universes works in a surprisingly paradoxical way, allowing structure and freedom to coexist, while constantly challenging the ear. It's not quite like anything else.

Track Listing: 1. Possible Universes 01:17:12; 2. Possible Worlds (download bonus track) 20:26 - Somerville Armory - 28 May 2017

Personnel: PEK - saxophones, clarinets, double reeds (1,2); Glynis Lomen - cello, aquasonic, voice (1,2); Yuri Zbitnov - drums, percussion (1,2); Andria Nicodemou - vibes, percussion (1,2); Mimi Rabson - violin (1,2); Matt Scutchfield - violin (1); Jonathan LaMaster - violin (1); Dan O'Brien - flutes, clarinets, saxophones (1); Zach Bartolomei - clarinets, saxophones, melodica (1); Bob Moores - trumpet (1); Steve Provizer - trumpet, baritone horn (1); Forbes Graham - trumpet (1); Kat Dobbins - trombone (1); Dave Harris - trombone, tuba (1); John Baylies - tuba (1); Eric Zinman - piano (1); Grant Beale - guitar (1); Chris Florio - guitar synth (1); Tony Leva - bass (1,2); Silvain Castellano - bass (1); Kit Demos - bass (1); Syd Smart - drums, percussion (1,2); Kevin Dacey - drums, percussion (1); Joe Hartigan - drums, percussion (1)

Title: Leap of Faith Orchestra - Possible Universes | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Evil Clown

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