Second album from Gilad Atzmon's drummer checks into deep space fusion territory...
Peter Marsh 2005
Asaf Sirkis is best known as the drummer with Gilad Atzmon's Orient House Ensemble, where his quick witted, kaleidoscopic percussive skills are the perfect foil to Atzmon's deft tragi-comic blend of jazz, folk forms and God knows what else.
This is Sirkis' second album with his Inner Noise trio (featuring keyboardist Steve Lodder and guitarist Mike Outram). The sleeve features nice pictures of asteroids (Ida & Dactyl, for those of an astronomical bent), and there's a nice quote from Sun Ra too, so the indications are that we're in for a ride of deeply cosmic proportions.
But that's not quite what we get. Sirkis and chums deal in a tidy but dark brand of fusion, characterised by restless drumming, proggy gothic keyboards and spiky but lyrical guitar heroics. Though the trio's line-up nods to Tony Williams' Lifetime, this more considered music relies less on 900mph soloing and testosterone-fuelled outbursts; several times I was reminded of John Abercrombie's classic Timeless, particularly on the slowburning ascent of "Another Being" and "Galactic Citizen (pt2)".
Things get really proggy on the grandiose plod of the title track, which could be lifted from a Brand X or National Health album, while "Life Itself" nods to Lifetime and their ilk with its frenzied wah-soaked guitar histrionics, bebop-on-acid drumming and fat keyboard basslines. Sirkis likes to keep you guessing with his writing; likewise his drumming is fleet, busy and unapologetically showy, but it never gets in the way.
Outram is fast becoming one of the most interesting guitar players around (along with Mike Walker). He's capable of flash but tends to avoid it, opting in most cases to fill a bar with one well chosen note rather than 64 lazy ones. Lodder opts for some slightly cheesy synth patches on occasion, but he does a good job of glueing the whole together with big, churchy organ chords and squelchy analogue synths.
Sirkis ends the whole with a spot of solo synthesizer noodling (prefaced on "Galactic Citizen Pt 2"). The Ra connection sort of starts to make sense here, but for the most part We Are Falling is retro-fuelled fusion fun of the best kind, delivered without pretension (despite the track titles) and bursting with energy.