Turbulence: Vortex Generation Mechanisms

      by Karl Ackermann


In several of his Evil Clown groups such as String Theory, New Language Collaborative, Metal Chaos Ensemble and Leap of Faith, David Peck (aka PEK) employs enough instrumentation to supply a marching band (though they would be an odd lot for sure). On his Turbulence project, Vortex Generation Mechanisms, he leaves much of that unconventional battery in the boot. Which is not to say that there is any shortage of musical tools in the mix.

Turbulence—like many of the Evil Clown staple groups—has a rotational lineup where PEK himself is the one constant. Their first album, Flow Regimes, Volume 1 (2015), a joint outing with Leap of Faith, featured the group as a quintet. Vortex Generation Mechanisms, however, is a duet with the focus on PEK and fellow mulit-reedist Steve Norton. But the saxophone/clarinet central point is still surrounded by a total of eighteen "instruments" of far-flung origins.

The title track—a fifty-plus minute sonic voyage—is the sole piece on Vortex Generation Mechanisms. It seamlessly move across terrains that greatly vary in texture. At times PEK and Norton lose each other in a tangle of notes but find their way back to a quasi-center. In other phases of the piece, languid lines, sometimes ominous, from the bass clarinet mix with rasping metal and other odd sounds. One can imagine air being let out of a balloon in the midst of bells and gongs and yet a musical quality incorporates these outlying elements as part of the imagery.

Vortex Generation Mechanisms veers between minimalism and an air-driven calliope coming off the rails. Despite employing a plethora of non-conventional tools, the music always has a sense of meaningfulness; it can be calming and disconnected at the same time. As a result, it is always more provoking than pacifying. Like much Evil Clown's output, this is a project that organically grows with each listening.

Photos by Raffi

Turbulence - Vortex Generation Mechanisms

Evil Clown Headquarters

Waltham, MA - 2/3/2016

Audio CD                                      Evil Clown 9095

Turbulence - Vortex Generation Mechanisms

streaming, downloads and CD mail order

1) Vortex Generation Mechanisms - 50:57

Evil Clown Headquarters, Waltham MA

2/25/2016

PEK - tenor, alto, sopranino saxes, contra-alto clarinet,

     sheng, gaunzi, daxophone, theremin, Korg ms-20,

     metal, whistles, electronics
Steve Norton - bartione, alto, sopranino saxes, alto,

     contra-alto clarinets, metal

Evil Clown ​

​On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG