PEK, Silvain Castellano, Dave Harris
Photo by Rob Miller
Leap of Faith - Linear Combinations and Transformations
In early 2014, PEK put 15 Evil Clown titles at Downtown Music Gallery, the record store and mail order house where he buys New Music from every week’s newsletter. Bruce Lee Gallanter, one of the owners, generously wrote favorable reviews of more than half of the order and DMG sold nearly all of the copies stocked (see above). This encouraged PEK and sent him back to the DAT masters of all of the performances to create new albums and fill out the Evil Clown catalog.
Leap of Faith will be firing up again in early 2015 with a lineup featuring PEK, Glynis, Yuri and new member Steve Norton.
PEK, 26 December 2014
In September 1999, Glynis couldn’t make a Leap of Faith gig at the last second at Mass Art in Boston. At the concert the first set was a duet between Charlie Kolhase and Matt, the second set was a trio with PEK, James Coleman (theremin) and Tatsuya Nakatani (drums and bowed percussion). PEK called the band Equalibrium since Glynis was not playing. The Evil Clown release of this performance contains the second and third sets.
Bruce Lee Gallanter (Downtown Music Gallery) review of Equalibrium – Fitness Landscapes:
EQUILIBRIUM [With PEK/JAMES COLEMAN/TATSUYA NAKATANI + CHARLIE KOHLHASE /MATT LANGLEY] - Fitness Landscapes (Evil Clown; USA) Featuring Pek on saxes, clarinet & bassoon, James Coleman on theremin, Tatsuya Nakatani on percussion plus added on one long track: Charlie Kohlhase & Matt Langley on saxes. Equilibrium is another of Dave Peck's (aka Pek) projects. Equilibrium consists of Pek, James Coleman on theremin (who has worked with Bhob Rainey & Greg Kelley) and percussion wiz Tatsuya Nakatani (one of my fave players, who has worked with Dr. Chadbourne, Mary Halvorson and Billy Bang). Both guest saxists here, Charlie Kohlhase & Matt Langely, are Boston-based and have recorded together on more than a half dozen discs. This is the one disc by Mr. Peck and his cohorts that has all familiar names on board. This disc consists of two long pieces, the first of which features just the trio of Pek, Coleman and Nakatani. It was recorded live at Mass Art in Boston in September of 1999. I dig the way the trio take their time and improvise, quietly at first, slowly getting to know each other as they evolve together. At nearly 40 minutes long, it is like a long story unfolding, paced just right never too busy or too intense but always interesting. The second piece is called "Phase Space" and it features three reeds, theremin & percussion. This piece again takes it time but lets all three reeds work together in strong and spirited ways, building, criss-crossing with sections of free/jazz frenetics. Again, the balance, recording and pace is careful and well-handled. Often Mr. Nakatani's unique approach to percussion (bowed gongs, etc.) and theremin are in similar timbral terrain. More great music form points little known.
In late 1999, Craig relocated to Hawaii and PEK and Glynis reformed Leap of Faith into a quartet with PEK, Glynis, James Coleman and Yuri Zbitnov (drums and percussion). For a detailed history of Leap of Faith, see the band bio at the beginning of this document.
Leap of Faith
For many years Craig Schildhauer hosted Mental Notes at WMFO (Tufts University, Medford MA) from midnight until 2. Mental notes was a different kind of Radio Show than you have ever experienced. You might call it a Radio Broadcast Performance (with mad genius Craig using the entire Radio Station as an instrument). He would make a single uninterrupted mix for the entire length of his program. His show was 2 hours, but he would do it until the next DJ arrived - sometimes for 5 or 6 hours in a row. WMFO had three studios and Craig would use all three of them at the same time. He created loops and tapes in advance, he set up huge analog tape loops with two reel-to-reel decks, he sampled albums of all kinds from the library, he set up his bass and then he ran around between the three studios all night like a crazed fiend. He invited all kinds of different improvising musicians to come and play both as ensembles and as ensembles with Radio Station accompaniment. PEK participated about 20 times in 1996 and 1997 and always brought blank DAT tapes so he could document the results. Performing on various Mental Notes broadcasts were Leap of Faith, Bottom Feeder (Craig and PEK as a duet), Jeff Hudgens (woodwinds), Keith Fullerton Whitman (guitar, electronics), Ayler's Angels (trio with 2 altos and drums), Masashi Harada (percussion), Leslie Ross (bassoon), Rob Bethel (cello), El-Ron (?), Wayne Rogers (guitar, electronics, owner of the Twisted Village record shop and record label), Kate Biggar (bass) and others.
In 1995, Glynis and PEK decided that they wanted to move their collaboration in a different direction than Leaping Water Trio. They started their first ensemble named Leap of Faith with Mark McGrain (trombone and alp horn). Leap of Faith is the long-term collaboration between Glynis and PEK, officially starting at this time and continuing to 2001 with varying other permanent members and a large number of guests. For a detailed history of Leap of Faith, see the band bio page of this site. PEK and Sam Lobel continued their musical relationship by forming Wind, sometimes a woodwind duo and sometimes a wind instrument trio with the addition of Alec Haavik (saxophones, trombone). Leap of Faith worked continuously in one format or another from this point to the haitus starting in 2001.
PEK Bio (3)
One important project occurred at the beginning of the transition between the PEK-Glynis-Mark McGrain trio and the PEK-Glynis-Craig Schildhauer trio in October 1996 when PEK rented Killian Hall at MIT for a weekend. Leap of Faith recorded Linear Combinations and Transformations - a suite of three improvised movements with a varying ensemble. All three movements had the core group of PEK-Glynis-Mark McGrain - the first added Craig Schildhauer and Sid Smart; the second was just trio; and the third was septet with Rob Bethel on cello and Forrest Larsen on viola, Craig, and Laurence Cook on drums. I hired a professional photographer who took many excellent photographs. They released a self produced CD at the time, and recently have dug the unused tracks out, creating a second version of the entire suite, and including the other tracks with newly recorded Material on Regenerations, our reunion album in 2015.
Leap of Faith vs. The Fringe
Yuri had several pop culture bands combining elements of rock and jazz and improvisation. PEK played on a number of the Skysaw performances during 2002. Skysaw was a duet between Yuri on drums and Core Redonnett (Blue Man Group) on electric zither. Skysaw utilized prerecorded electronic tracks and loops and real time electronic performance interacting with the zither and percussion. One of the shows including PEK also featured Brandon Seabrook on guitar and banjo.
Pek set up a concert at Killian Hall MIT for Leap of Faith and the band of his old Berklee teacher George Garzone.
In 1998, not making any meaningful money at Tower Records, PEK returned to college at the University of Massachusetts and finally completed a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He then took a technical job working for the structural engineering firm Simspon Gumpertz & Heger. For several years, while completing the degree at night, he worked this strenuous job and also continued his music career, but in 2001, following the Leap of Faith vs. the Fringe performance, PEK decided to discontinue regular musical performance, preferring not to do it part time.
Seventh Generation Ensemble
In February 1997, Tor Snyder had a 3 day run at Mobius for his multimedia band, the Seventh Generation Ensemble, entitled Reinventing Ritual. It featured Tor (guitar and electronics), Raqib Hassan (tenor saxophone, musette, xurna), Earl Grant Lawrence (piccolo, flutes), Glynis, PEK, Craig, Michael Shea (piano), Dennis Warren (drums, percussion), Linda King (poetry), Guadulesa (live painting), Ebony Pushkin-Nova (dance), Anita Havel (dance), PEK and Martha Ritchie (videographic score).
In 1997, Mark McGrain relocated to New Orleans and PEK and Glynis reformed Leap of Faith with Craig Schildhauer as the principle third member. For a detailed history of Leap of Faith, see the band bio at the beginning of this document.
Mark McGrainGlynis Lomon
In 2012, PEK once again started performing with one of Yuri’s bands, Mission Creep. In early 2014, the Mission Creep studio band recorded an album entitled On the Sea of Suns. The 2014 live performance version of this band is a collaboration between Gregory Damien Grinnell (composition, electronics, bass, guitar, and trumpet) and Yuri (composition, drums) with the other regular members being Tony Savarino (guitar), PEK (baritone saxophone), Steve Norton (alto sax, horn arrangements), Johnny Blazes (vocals), and Tamora Gooding (electronic percussion).
On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff