Review by Brad Walseth
In an attempt to bring a new twist to the power trio format, drummer/composer Asaf Sirkas' Inner Noise group includes organist Steve Lodder. Nothing new there, but for the fact Lodder performs on the pipe organ at St. Michael's Church in Highgate, London on three of the tracks. This surprising sound adds a touch of gravitas and mystery to the recording, "The Song Within." The trio plays songs that range from moody atmospherics (the title track, "Miniature"), to burning jazz/rock fusion ("Nothingness First Part 1, Nothingness," "Hymn") to introspective solo church organ interludes ("Love," "Theme For Gary," "Sweet Song")
The Israeli-born drummer/London-based Sirkas is has been compared by some to Jack Dejohnette and Tony Williams, and he certainly shows a nice combination of creativity and power. Lodder's keyboards are mostly along the heavy chord organ vein, and veer more toward the classical or prog rock arena as opposed to those expecting Jimmy Smith. However, the star of the show for my money is guitarist Mike Outram, whose blazing work sounds to me like a cross between Allan Holdsworth and Frank Zappa.
"When You Ask Why" offers a nice change of pace, with Outram on acoustic guitar to start, but turns into another lengthy set piece for Sirkas and the guitarist to wail away against a wall of "organ-ic" sound. This could get tedious, but fortunately the talents of the musicians overcome most objections and the results are engaging. This is most apparent on "Hymn," with Outram's searing solo the utter highlight of the entire album. Compositionally, a bit thin, the album is nevertheless nicely balanced overall and should please fusion electric guitar fans and listeners interesting in an unusual approach to the organ trio.