Asaf Sirkis & The Inner Noise - The Song Within
Asaf Sirkis & The Inner Noise's The Song Within was released on SAM Productions in 2007 and is distributed by EGEA Distribution.
Where the previous We Are Falling album presented soundscapes on a truly cosmic scale, the present offering turns inward, to inner space and a more intimate sound picture. If We Are Falling presented huge murals, The Song Within is a series of intricate, even delicate miniature vignettes.
As ever, Asaf Sirkis proves himself a most formidable composer and arranger, and like all true artists draws on inspiration and intuition, not some clever idea. Sirkis' immense drumming prowess, mercurial and muscular as well as sensitive and subtle, with the precision timing of an atomic clock, is maturing at an almost frightening rate. It is easy to see why he is probably the most in-demand drummer of our time and fast growing into the greatest drumming phenomenon yet.
The soundscapes that Sirkis creates from the unparalleled palette of his traps and Steve Lodder's ever amazing keys and church organ and Mike Outram's nimble electric and acoustic guitars are intricate and inward looking, rich yet delicate, subtle. Sirkis' very own brand of 21st century fusion explores new territories with The Song Within, less 'gothic' than previous offerings. The various influences are still there but here have been subsumed completely into a much more mature Sirkis, a unique kind of transcendental synthesis.
This synthesis, as indeed with previous offerings from Asaf Sirkis & The Inner Noise, goes way beyond anything that 20th century fusion and prog rock ever attempted. Fusion lost its way and eventually grew into what is now generally referred to as world jazz and, indeed, world music. (Not, of course, that this is a bad thing in itself - far from it.) Prog rock never quite found its way and quickly deteriorated into the kind of Bach and Beethoven near-plagiarism of the likes of Yes and fizzled out rapidly. Sirkis, on the other hand, goes back to the roots and beginnings of fusion and prog rock (as well as Third Stream) and comes up with something truly original, creative and beautiful. And never more so with The Inner Noise trio than on The Song Within.
To further comment on the virtuosic brilliance of any of the trio seems utterly superfluous, as do further comments on the tight-knit ensemble playing and superlative soloing. As always, Sirkis gives Lodder and Outram generous space to shine.
In some ways The Song Within with its more subtle, more delicate tonal colours and soundscapes foreshadows the later The Monk with The Asaf Sirkis Trio. The intricate vignettes painted on The Song Within are exquisite, from the opening title track right through to the closing Sweet Song, one of three almost ethereally gorgeous church organ solos for Steve Lodder. This album is as solidly consistent as it is utterly compelling. Muscle is balanced by sophistication and finesse, spirituality by elegant otherworldliness, as well as down-to-earth worldliness balanced by ethereal, haunting beauty. Throw in, note for note, more edge than one of Sirkis' heroes, Allan Holdsworth, and you've got the perfect album. The Song Within is, without a shadow of a doubt, the finest that Asaf Sirkis & The Inner Noise have offered yet. (It is only to be hoped most fervently that there will be more Inner Noise albums to come, alongside The Asaf Sirkis Trio.) In this day and age when it is clearly not easy for musicians to distinguish themselves amid the seas of mediocrity, Sirkis' Inner Noise trio does so with ease and elegance. Sirkis' imagination and inventiveness as a composer is every bit on a par with that as a drummer.
While I hate to single out any particular track, don't miss Sirkis' gorgeous brushwork on Miniature. Simply a dream! Overall, like its predecessor, The Song Within comes remarkably close to a 'live' performance in feel and atmosphere.
If you're any kind of fusion enthusiast, then Asaf Sirkis & The Inner Noise's The Song Within is a must-have album. But ultimately, this belongs in any good music collection.
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