In the time since we released his first album – Open Mystery – Pek attended the venerable Mills College in Oakland, CA, where he studied with notable luminaries of the American avant-garde Fred Frith and William Winant. That experience triggered a fundamental transformation in Pek’s approach to improvisation and performance. Whereas Open Mystery provided a comprehensive examination of the American Primitive style championed by his former teachers, Emptiness Smiles expands out from that center, incorporating more diverse instrumentation and an evolved sense of both rhythm and texture.
Recorded and mixed in sessions with FS Fam Aaron Oppenheim and Andrew Weathers, the album was assembled from hours of live studio improvisation. Four recordings have been chosen for this release, each honing in on different aspects of Pek’s current practice. Piano meditations, deconstructed blues riffs and percussive explorations of the guitar itself are all on display here, providing an evocative follow-up to his debut; and an album which serves as an intriguing document of a vital young artist operating at the fringes of American experimentalism.