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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Leap of Faith Orchestra - Hyperbolic Spirals Vols 1 & 2 (EvilClown, 2015) ****

By Paul Acquaro

From what I can tell, Hyperbolic Spirals is the most complete manifestation of saxophonist and orchestrator PEK's musical vision to date. Rarely does something so musically big and audacious come together in such a complete package!

The first track on the fist volume of the set is the core Leap Of Faith band (named below) - a quartet of intrepid and uncompromising Boston-based musicians who adhere to a very free and organic approach to music making. The opening half hour 'Asymptotes' is a great example of their collective thinking and individual aesthetics. Next up is a set by the Metal Chaos Ensemble, which while sharing some members with LoF, focuses on both typical and unusual percussion instruments. The rumble is augmented by stream of consciousness woodwind melodies that help to bind the whole event together. 

However, it is the Leap of Faith Orchestra that has cornered the market on the sounds of the subconscious. The orchestra, comprised of all the woodwinds, cello, and vast array of percussion instruments and beyond, creates a sound that is otherworldly and mesmerizing. Scrapes and clangs of metal, a hybrid cry of rooster and human, fill the opening sequence to Vol 2 with a palpable tension. 

The first 20 minutes is all texture and a diffused soundscape. However a culmination of chimes around the 10-minute mark seems to signal a new movement: the mood lightens, the clouds lift, and the pulse quickens. It takes a while for a somewhat anticipated buildup of the wind instruments to occur, but when it does, it's huge. Mixing with the chimes and splashes of sound from the metal, it's really quite moving when it reaches its zenith.

The orchestra is comprised of the core Leap of Faith quartet of cellist Glynis Lomon, drummer Yuri Zbitnov and saxophonist Steve Norton on saxophone, along with PEK, and the Metal Chaos Ensemble, which includes Andria Nicodemou, Matt Somalis, and Kevin Dacey on an incredible array of percussion instruments. How a LoF works is that there is typically three sets to a show: a guest artist, LoF and then a combined set. This is the combination of PEK’s two groups and was recorded live at a church in Somerville, MA in September 2015. 


Colin Green said...

Nice review Paul. Will have to check these out.