Evil Clown 9248
Evil Clown Headquarters - Waltham MA
26 September 2020
Null Hypothesis – 1:10:23
PEK - tenor sax, clarinet, alto clarinet and contralto clarinet, oboe, nadaswaram, alto flute, large bamboo flute, wood flutes, 3 hole Russian flute, goat horn wind & crank sirens, fog horn, accordion, malletkat with moog subsequent, [d]ronin, daxophone, ms-20, novation peak with linstrument, orchestral chimes, brontosaurus and tank bells, Englephone, wood blocks, temple blocks, balafon, log drum, daiko, gongs, plate gongs, crotales, cymbells, Tibetan bowls, castanets Yuri Zbitnov - drum set, orchestral chimes, gongs, crotales, cymbells, glockenspiel, Englephone, Tibetan bowls, brontosaurus and tank bells, balafon, wood blocks, bells, log drum, daiko, sequencer
Liner Notes by PEK
Metal Chaos Ensemble 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 five years has been one of the most prolific Evil Clown ensembles.
The many MCE albums (49 as of this writing) have developed significantly over time. The first set, Null Theory, was a duet between PEK and Yuri. The second session, War Tuba, included guitarist Catherine Cappozi and added a rock element that was repeated occasionally during the early period. A series of albums followed where the guests were mostly percussion players. There was an early trio, Intermetallic Compounds, with the amazing vibes player Andrea Nicodemou… There was an early trio, Chrononauts, with electronic and gadget wiz Bill T Miller.
In 2018, we started down a slightly new path combining the heavy percussion, electronics, rock/groove elements with some prepared mixes created from samples in advance. Multi-instrumentalist Bob Moores appears frequently on trumpet, guitar and electronics, Albey OnBass (a Cecil Taylor alumnus) did about 5 sets, and Eric Woods shows up with his fantastic analog synth concept. Due to the increasingly complicated mix, I engaged Joel Simches to be the Evil Clown House Engineer. When Albey split for New Orleans, we found the extraordinary bassist Mike Gruen to replace him. We started to feature various text sources on each album and have more groove elements and settled on a sextet comprised of PEK, Yuri, Bob, Eric, Mike Caglianone (saxes), Mike Gruen. Of the last 4 albums, the first two are quintets in this format, and the later two add Mike C to complete the sextet, all with Joel in the live-to-two track mixing and live electronics chair.
So along comes our pal the stupid Corona Virus. Typical for MCE, Evil Clown Headquarters is jammed full of gear and 7 performers (plus Raffi on the video mixing) for these sets – way too many and too close for safety. I had to cancel all kinds of terrific scheduled sessions including the next MCE set… The sextet will be back as soon as it is safe, but in the meantime, I’m doing solo projects and very limited Leap of Faith small ensemble sets and MCE projects as a duet with just Yuri and me. For some of my recent solo works I have done extended prerecording/overdubbing in advance of a final solo pass over the full duration of the work. I am very proud of Some Truths are Known, a composition comprised of 3 eighty minute movements for overdubbing PEKs on 110 instruments.
Yuri and I are going to explore two very different methods for producing MCE albums while we wait for a healthier environment. Null Hypothesis is a return to the birth of MCE 5 years ago, Null Theory. No spoken words, no prepared accompaniment tracks, no overdubs, just Yuri and PEK and a room full of percussion, horns and electronics tearing it up live to YouTube for 70 minutes. This is old school for us, and similar to Leap of Faith’s process, even if the music is more groove oriented than LOF ever is.
The other path, exemplified by the last MCE set completed in August 2020, Don Quixote, is in some ways a culmination of the entire MCE history. It is a duet constructed in the studio with overdubbing, comprised of Yuri and me, it contains lots of percussion in the overdubbing, it contains rock/groove elements, in features electronics, it contains narration from Don Quixote, and it includes the studio overdubbing techniques of recent PEK Solo projects. This method approximates the activity and density of actions of the more recent sextet Metal Chaos Ensemble sets (The Riddle of Steel, Call of Cthulhu, The Nameless City & Proteus IV) performed in the second half of 2019 and the first couple of months of 2020.
PEK – 9/27/2020
Evil Clown 9248