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Asaf Sirkis Trio: Shepherd's Stories

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It's getting to the point where it's almost impossible to pigeonhole an artist into any one category---and that can't be anything but a good thing. Sure, some people like to think of the artists they love as jazz, rock or classical musicians, but the truth is that, more and more, musicians simply want to be thought of as people who play music. Still, there's an intrinsic need to categorize music, if for no other reason than to help provide some context in order to help others decide whether or not it's something they might like. There's little doubt, based on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Asaf Sirkis Trio: Shepherd's Stories

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Maybe it's the unfashionably hot weather that's hit the UK in recent summers, but there's something almost cheery about drummer Asaf Sirkis' Shepherd Stories. Sirkis' church organ/guitar based Inner Noise recordings wove a jazz-gothic tale, while The Monk (SAM Productions, 2008)--with guitarist Tassos Spiliotopoulos and bassist Yaron Stavi--balanced tantalizingly between pretty melancholy and a slightly dark aesthetic. That said, a lyrical vein has always permeated Sirkis' music Letting Go (Stonebird Productions, 2010) signaled the trio's move toward less introspective and more dynamic music and the trend continues here on a largely up-beat, buoyant set of tunes. After six ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Law / Yuri Goloubev / Asaf Sirkis: Three Leaps of the Gazelle

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Making changes in a trio can be risky a thing. If there's a special chemistry in a group, the slightest change in the lineup could spoil the magic of the music. For years, pianist John Law has had an effective formula with his Art of Sound Trio, with drummer Asaf Sirkis and bassist Sam Burgess, but Three Leaps of the Gazelle announces a significant change: Burgess is replaced by bassist Yuri Goloubev, a virtuoso musician and an old acquaintance of the pianist. Fortunately, this change only adds to the qualities of the music.Like Law himself, Goloubev has a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Asaf Sirkis: Letting Go

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The quiet evolution of drummer Asaf Sirkis as a composer has been fascinating to behold and almost as beguiling as his playing. The confluence of influences that give shape to his rhythms--Middle Eastern, Indian and jazz--combined with a love of Sun Ra's music and an interest in astronomy, results in music which is difficult to pin down, yet which is undeniably hypnotic, in a slightly dark and brooding manner. Where Letting Go differs fromThe Monk (SAM, 2008) is in the slightly sunnier visage the music presents. The opener, “Chennai Dream,"--with Yaron Stavi's tuneful bass at the fore--is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eyal Maoz / Asaf Sirkis: Elementary Dialogues

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Tzadik recording artist/guitarist Eyal Maoz teams with U.K.-based drummer/leader of The Inner Noise, Asaf Sirkis. Here, the duo projects style, substance and gobs of variety on these sprightly duets for the avant-garde Swedish record label, Ayler Records. Elementary Dialogues is an album built on cunning improvisation, where the instrumentalists delve into laidback funk-rock, noise-shaping maneuvers and quirky deviations, among many other elements.

Maoz's odd-phrasings and Jimi Hendrix-like cosmic meltdowns are abetted by his fierce soloing escapades in line with Sirkis' polyrhythmic aplomb. The guitarist pulls a consortium of tricks out of his bag and alters his distortion techniques on a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Law / Sam Burgess / Asaf Sirkis: Congregation: The Art of Sound Volume 4

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In music, the material of the artist is sound. Music is the shaping of sound. It's no coincidence, then, that British pianist John Law has named his ambitious tetralogy The Art of Sound. The final installment, Congregation: The Art of Sound Volume 4, finds Law working with the same trio--bassist Sam Burgess and drummer Asaf Sirkis--as he did on the very first release in the series, The Art of Sound (33 Jazz, 2007).

One of the advantages of the series is that it changes between solo recitations and group work, while still working with a core repertoire. Thus, ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Asaf Sirkis

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Meet Asaf Sirkis:Born in 1969 in Petah-Tikva, Israel, Asaf later moved to the town of Rehovot, where he spent his teens and early twenties. This was an influential move for Asaf, as it was here amongst the diverse cultural influences he found in Rehovot that Asaf began to show an interest in music and rhythm. In Rehovot he lived amongst people from North Africa, east and central Europe, and the Middle East. Living in Shaarayim, the Yemenite neighbourhood in Rehovot, Asaf was particularly drawn to Yemenite culture, music, and rhythms.

At the age of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Asaf Sirkis Trio: The Monk

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One thing that has perhaps been understated in some quarters when considering drummer Asaf Sirkis' recordings as a leader is just how lyrical and understated his music tends to be. The Inner Noise recordings, which aligned drums and guitar with church organ, drew almost as much attention for the unorthodox nature of the trio as they did for the music itself, which is as subtle as it is expansive. It is also quietly melodic and vaguely uneasy at the same time. On The Monk, an album of shades and contours, these same qualities are much to the fore.The ...

INTERVIEWS

Asaf Sirkis: The Endless Realm

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Since arriving in London from Israel at the end of the end of the '90s, Asaf Sirkis has earned a reputation as one of the world's premier drummers. His scintillating stick work has sparked saxophonist Gilad Atzmon's Orient House Ensemble since its inception, as well as coloring the projects of saxophonist Tim Garland in recent years.

Yet this sensitive, cerebral drummer, who has drawn favorable comparison to legends Tony Williams and Jack DeJohnette, is not easy to pigeonhole. His own projects, particularly The Inner Noise church-organ/guitar/drums trio, are as creative as they are perhaps unusual, and Mark Sirkis ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Asaf Sirkis Trio: The Monk

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After exploring an organ/guitar/drums encounter of the most unusual kind with The Inner Noise on albums including We Are Falling (Konnex, 2005) and The Song Within (SAM, 2007), Israeli-born, British-resident drummer Asaf Sirkis turns, on the surface, to a more conventional line-up with The Monk. Still, Sirkis' writing, and a trio that eschews orthodoxy, keeps The Monk in line with the distinctive voice of Inner Noise. “Stoned Bird" opens the disc with harmonic ambiguity, driven by Greek guitarist Tassos Spiliotopoulos' arpeggiated chords and Sirkis' muscular, tumultuous playing. But it's Israeli bassist Yaron Stavi who sets up the spare ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Asaf Sirkis & The Inner Noise: The Song Within

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UK-based, Israeli-born drummer Asaf Sirkis has maintained his current trio, The Inner Noise, with church organist/keyboardist Steve Lodder and guitarist Mike Outram, since 2002. The Song Within is their third recording together.

Inspired in part by the organ music of composer Oliver Messiaen and Maurice Durufle, Sirkis' writing resonates with a rich spiritual lyricism that rises to levels of kinetic fury commonly embraced by fusion ensembles.

Drawing from classic jazz fusion innovators like guitarist Allan Holdsworth and Tony Williams' Lifetime, as well as progressive rock bands like Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer; The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Asaf Sirkis & The Inner Noise: The Song Within

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If Olivier Messiaen had written music with a pulse, it might have sounded something like Asaf Sirkis & The Inner Noise. The Israeli-born, UK-based drummer has been honing a personal vision with this trio for over five years, and The Song Within is the group's best disc yet. Sirkis has retained a consistent line-up--church organist/keyboardist Steve Lodder and guitarist Mike Outram--from inception (a rare feat in itself), and this third release further solidifies its already distinctive approach. This continuation and evolution of the music on We Are Falling (Konnex, 2005) makes for a collection that, taken individually, is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Asaf Sirkis & The Inner Noise: We Are Falling

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Israeli ex-pat Asaf Sirkis has been gradually insinuating himself into the UK scene since moving to London in 1999. His most visible work to date has been with the controversial saxophonist Gilad Atzmon's Oriental House Ensemble where, in addition to playing drums, he's been able to take advantage of his background in ethnic percussion instruments. His broad orchestral approach to kit and hand percussion may, however, be best heard on woodwind multi-instrumentalist Tim Garland's sweeping and ambitious If the Sea Replied (Sirocco, 2005).

Hearing Sirkis' work on the Middle Eastern-Coltrane fusion of Atzmon's band and the classically informed open-mindedness of ...



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