If you've been following our reviews of recent releases from the MoonJune Records label, you've no doubt noticed that one name keeps popping up on quite a few of them, that being Israeli/British drummer Asaf Sirkis. In addition to recording with the likes of Marcus Reuter, Mark Wingfield, Dwiki Dharmawan, Tim Garland, and Yaron Stavi, Sirkis also has a few solo albums of his own, either with his Asaf Sirkis Trio or the Inner Noise, another trio with church organist Steve Lodder & guitarist Mike Outram. Inner Noise is the 2003 release from the latter, a wild affair that blends Sirkis' acrobatic drum skills with the Allan Holdsworth styled guitar flights from Outram and Lodder's full bodied church organ. Church organ in a jazz trio you ask? I thought the same thing, but boy does it work out well in the hands of these three fine musicians.
"Lucidity" kicks things off in classic jazz fusion territory, engaging arrangements allowing for blazing Outram guitar solos over rumbling drumming and atmospheric organ. Lodder takes the lead on the haunting "Three Ways", as mountains of church organ sweep the listener off his/her feet, Sirkis lending in some intricate fills and Outram percolating along the way. "Hope" is another highly dramatic piece, with tasty guitar melodies breaking for occasionally symphonic bursts from Lodder, while the laid back "Floating" sees the guitarist explode for a truly jaw dropping solo full of emotion and technique. The title track has more of a classic fusion feel with some memorable melodies, but it's the church organ that adds that unique touch. The back end of the album is where things get even more intriguing, starting with the 11+ minute "Desert Vision", a dark, bleak slice of ominous jazz, the organ simmering below the surface, Sirkis gently brushing his cymbals while Outram picks and bends some crying notes. "The Only Way" almost sounds like Holdsworth or Frank Gambale jamming with Rick Wakeman, and the epic closer "White Elephant" sees Sirkis & Outram blazing away under a huge umbrella of sumptuous church organ.
Inner Noise is ultimately a very enjoyable affair of jazz-fusion and avant-garde sounds that definitely brings something new to the table. Three virtuosos, well written compositions, and sensational performances...it's a winner folks!
Three Ways 04:54
Inner Noise 08:46
Desert Vision 11:14
The Only Way 09:06
White Elephant 12:02