Multi-instrumentalist Dave Peck aka PEK hails from the Boston, MA area and hosts an extensive discography, spanning the 90s to present on his Evil Clown Records label. His Leap of Faith band is a long-running collaboration with alternating personnel. A former student of legendary saxophonist George Garzone, PEK is a man who stretches his imagination to the max via several disparate ensembles and ongoing relationships with numerous artists such as notable improvisers, saxophonist Bhob Rainey and percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani. Each album, while largely rooted in avant-garde expressionism, poses numerous propositions for the listener amid the art of anarchic sound-sculpting processes with unimagined detours and trajectories, or when his band-mates intersperse a horde of faintly melodic and fleeting mini-motifs. At times, notions of the classic British free-improvisation movement on an adrenaline-fueled discourse come to mind.
War Tuba is a free improv world music spree unlike most anything I've heard. With the respective musicians' use of the aquasonic waterphone percussion instrument, jangling chains, metal objects, game calls, piccolo copper clarinet and other off the beaten path implements, the trio abides by a euphorically executed campaign. Think of ancient rituals with some degree of bombast, coinciding with PEK's various reeds and horns dialogues, enamored by the pristine audio characteristics. And his plaintive cries on the tarogoto and clarinets with electric guitarist Catherine Axemunkee's unorthodox phrasings and hammering chord structures are enveloped by percussionist Yuri Zbitnov's color-coded maneuvers. It's one continuous piece, also featuring the guitarist's droning rock lines and other bizarre soundscapes that always catch you off guard, but the band also settles into an ambient, electro-acoustic vibe, contrasting the spirited free-form romps. Without a doubt, the group's ultra-surreal musical space defies rigid classifications, as widespread interpretations will most assuredly vary on an individual basis, which for the most part, is a good thing.
By Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
METAL CHAOS ENSEMBLE [PEK/YURI ZBITNOV/CATHERINE CAPOZZI] - War Tuba (Evil Clown 9056; USA) Featuring PEK on double reeds, tarogato, clarinets, aquasonic, Yuri Zbitnov on metal, chains, etc and Catherine "Axemunkee" Capozzi on guitar & aquasonic. The Metal Chaos Ensemble have three discs out on Evil Clown, each one with Leap of Faith members PEK (multiple winds & voice) and Yuri Zbitnov (percussion). The third or fourth person changes on each disc. The third person here is Ms. Catherine Capozzi on guitar.
This disc was recorded in Dave PEK's house and contains one 51+ minute track. In the first section we hear mostly layers of ritualistic percussion: mostly bells, cymbals, gongs, etc. The combination of metallic percussion is pretty hypnotic. Eventually, PEK picks up a double reed which makes bent, animal-like sounds while Ms. Capozzi plays strange sounds on her electric guitar, although it is hard to tell what she is playing at times. Eventually the trio takes off with Capozzi playing some disturbing fuzzed guitar while someone else does scary vocals in the distance. A cosmic boogie or something equally disturbing?!? The cover of this disc features a number of evil looking serpent-like horns (bassoons?) on wheels with an army marching underneath. The title and cover of this disc, "War Tuba" doesn't quite prepare for the scary sounds within. - Bruce Lee Gallanter
Metal Chaos Ensemble - War Tuba
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff
On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG