ASAF SIRKIS

drummer composer educator

Memories from the gig with Shri Sriram and the Hammonds Saltaire Brass Band at the Manchester Jazz Festival 2017

Shri – Just a Vibration

Shri – Just A Vibration By Duncan Lomax

Shri Sriram (bass, flute, vocals)/Jasdeep Singh Degun (sitar)/Asaf Sirkis (drums)/Members of the Hammonds Saltaire Brass Band. Conductor: Morgan Griffiths

Salon Perdu

A powerful and innovative meeting of musical minds and imaginations, in which Indian classical and street music meets the British brass band tradition, with jazz, drum‘n’bass and dubstep thrown in for good measure. Composer-producer Shri Sriram creates a fascinating and enjoyable ‘Bombay mix’ of styles in this big-sounding, fun, lively BASCA-prize winning crossover work. Shri is joined by seventeen members of the Hammonds Saltaire Brass Band. 

“Just a Vibration is about bringing Indian classical and street music, melodies and concepts to the Brass Band to make engaging, dynamic music with the very unusual, cross-cultural combination of brass band, sitar, bass and drums. The influences range from Bombay street music, jazz, brass, Indian classical, Bollywood, R.D. Burman, Wagner, drum’n’bass, dub-step, Mariachi and more. They all seem to exist harmoniously in the same space – as it is all nothing more than just a vibration!”

“It’s a powerful & innovative meeting of musical minds and imaginations, in which Indian classical and street music meets the British brass band tradition with jazz, drum ‘n’ bass & dub step thrown in for good measure. It’s a compelling ‘Bombay mix’ of styles that works because it is the brain child of one man, the multi-instrumentalist, writer and producer Shri Sriram”
British Bandsman, Paul Hindmarsh

“An entertainingly varied set that would make great film music.”
The Guardian

“The set was amazing – I’m still tapping my foot! What an epic concept!”
East London Radio

“This was like drinking a huge pot of the most indulgent creamy hot chocolate, splashed with a heavy dose of brandy combined – 10/10.”
Huddersfield Examiner

PHOTOS BY SYLWIA BIALAS:

Shri Sriram – Just a Vibration (review by Adrian Pallant)

The visual spectacle of sitar player, drummer and electric bassist surrounded by brass band stands and pennants might well have been sufficient to tempt onlookers to stay – and the opening, widescreen grandeur of Shri Sriram’s music would surely have rooted them to the spot. Melding Indian classical music from the sitar of Jasdeep Singh Degun and the evocative Yorkshire brass vibrato of the Hammonds Saltaire Band with Sriram’s thunderous bass and Asaf Sirkis’s skilled drumming might, on the face of it, have been an unlikely concept. But Sunday’s evening slot presented the bassist/producer’s 2015 album Just a Vibration to enthusiastic festival-goers. 

The unusual body shape of Sriram’s self-made electric bass allows him to explore arco sounds alongside traditional methods, his looped effects filling the air with sweet fragrances in-between vast soundscapes. The subtle vibrato of Saltaire’s brass, under the direction of Morgan Griffiths, created intense, visceral drama (experienced, for us all, in genuine inner physicality) through deeply sustained resonance, brassy stabs and the kind of textural panoramas that seem unique to a traditional British brass band sound – and their focus was spot-on. 

Sriram’s programmatic balance was excellent, the extraordinary delicacy of Degun’s sitar so sweetly executed before it mesmerically intensified; in-demand drummer and percussionist Sirkis (the anchor of so many jazz and jazz-rock productions these days) was given free rein to underpin with heavy energy; and Sriram’s combination of adept konnakol and limitless fretboard exploration with effects was fascinating to witness. An unexpected delight for an attentive, rapt audience – and perhaps the biggest movie score of all time! 
 

Mr. Dwiki Dharmawan's recording session with Nguyen Le, Carles Benavent, Yaron Stavi and myself in company of Mr. Leonardo Moonjune Pavkovic

It was a giant pleasute to record two full days at La Casa Murada, 1hr west of Barcelona, in the beautiful settings of the XI century mansion in the heart of Penedès, the biggest wine region in Catalunya. Mr. Dwiki Dharmawan's recording session with Nguyen LeCarles Benavent, Yaron Stavi and myself in company of Mr. Leonardo Moonjune Pavkovic was very fruitful and we created a great piece of music together. Thank you guys for a beautiful musicianship.

It was great to meet Mr. Gary Husband in La Casa Murada...

Many thanks to Mr. Leonardo Moonjune Pavkovic for organizing another great recording session.

PHOTO IMPRESSIONS FROM A TOUR IN INDONESIA (JAKARTA) WITH DWIKI DHARMAWAN, DEWA BUDJANA, BORIS SAVOLDELLI, NICOLAS MEIER, YARON STAVI & GILAD ATZMON

It was great to be in Indonesia (Jakarta) and to play with those amazing musicians Dwiki DharmawanDewa BudjanaGilad AtzmonBoris Savoldelli, Yaron Stavi and Dede Anto.

Many thanks to Leonardo MoonJune Pavkovic for making it happen !!!


Nice to have John Ephland from Down Beat with us!

Motion Blue

IN BANDUNG:

 Dwiki Dharmawan and his Pasar Klewer project featuring Gilad AtzmonBoris SavoldelliAsaf SirkisNicolas MeierRudy Zulkarnaen, Dede, Ade Rudyana.

Dwiki Dharmawan Pasar Klewer soundcheck at TP Jazz in Bandung. :

THE GIG IN BANDUNG:

Photos by Leonardo MoonJune Pavkovic

MOTION BLUE, JAKARTA

Dewa Budjana & Nicolas Meier performing Budjanaji's tune Malaka Bay last night in Jakarta in company of Yaron Stavi and Asaf Sirkis.

Photos by Leonardo MoonJune Pavkovic:

JAWA JAZZ FESTIVAL 2017

Wingfield / Reuter / Stavi / Sirkis: The Stone House , album review by John Kelman, ALL ABOUT JAZZ / March 4, 2017

Wingfield Reuter Stavi Sirkis: The Stone House

REVIEW by JOHN KELMAN, ALL ABOUT JAZZ, March 4, 2017

 

At a 2009 ECM @ 40 celebration in Mannheim, Germany that was part of the ongoing Enjoy Jazz Festival, Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava spoke, in a public interview, about how free jazz, back in the day, wasn't really free. There were rules: no time and/or no changes, for example; with memorable melodies not impossible, but not encouraged. Rava continued on to enthuse that now, in the 21st Century, free jazz really is free: if you want to play time, you can play time; if you want to play no changes, you can play no changes; if you want to play a beautiful melody, you can play a beautiful melody. Anything is allowed; nothing is forbidden. 

Wise words, indeed, but in the new millennium, technology and greater explorations into extended instrumental techniques and newly created instruments has made it possible to add another set of variables into the list of the allowable: color, texture, atmosphere...soundscape. These more modern improvisational facilities can, of course, vary as widely as the vast array of sound processing that has evolved over the past decades, with artists exploring the broadest regions of sound including Norwegian live sampler Jan Bang and producer/remixer/electronic soundscapist Erik Honore, along with the rest of their Punkt Festival cohorts including guitarists Eivind Aarset and Stian Westerhus and trumpeters Nils Petter Molvaer and Arve Henriksen; while acoustic explorers including Henriksen and Molvær, fellow trumpeter Eivind Lønning and saxophonist Espen Reinertsen have probed the furthest reaches of their instruments, through embouchure and other means of creating hitherto unheard timbres and textures. 

But that Norwegian axis of musicians represents but a small portion of the artists out there today, exploring the possibilities of marrying instrumental expansion with, for some, the expansive, cinematic potential of applying technology...not as an add-on but as an extension of their chosen instrument(s). Artists like guitarist Robert Fripp and his current eight-piece incarnation of King Crimson: make new music out of old, in part, through the application of technology—one of the group's founding premises, in fact—creating a truly seamless integration of instrumental mastery and technological innovation. 

Guitarist Mark Wingfield, Touch Guitarist Markus Reuter, bassist Yaron Stavi and drummer Asaf Sirkis' debut as a group, The Stone House, is another example of blending clear virtuosity with a collective imagination that allows for the expansion of the music through textural, rather than just harmonic, melodic or rhythmic means. That's not to say The Stone House's six all-improvised, non-overdubbed, "live in the studio" tracks—seven, if you're talking about the downloadable version of the album, which adds the five-minute bonus track, "Nepheline," whose trance-inducing atmospherics gradually pick up steam when Sirkis enters, turning the piece into a dense, near-chaotic closer not for the faint-of-heart—are unapproachable. 

Not unlike Rava's statement about the state of free music today, The Stone House may have its moments of anarchy, but it also has its periods of calming tranquility. Reuter's Touch Guitar—a two-handed tapped instrument similar, in concept, to the Chapman Stick played by King Crimson bassist Tony Levin, a partner with Reuter in another improv-heavy progressive group, Stick Men—introduces the album-opening "Rush" with volume pedal-swelling, delay-driven notes and chords that interweave and overlay into a sonic cloud, creating a context for Sirkis and Stavi to enter and begin driving the piece with a muscular, unrelenting pulse. Both Israeli expats that have, for roughly the past two decades, lived in London where, in addition to leading active solo careers, they've played with top-drawer artists including jazz-related artists like fellow Israeli emigrant Gilad AtzmonTim Garland and Gwilym Simcock, as well as more progressive-leaning musicians such as Robert Wyatt and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, The Stone House is not music that swings in a conventionally "jazz" way, but it does have moments where it clearly swings, nevertheless...just in its own fashion. 

That the collective resume of this group of rising star musicians includes everything from more clearly definable jazz to something that can only be described as progressive music, even if it doesn't possess the signatures that most associate with the genre (though some string samples at the end of "Fjords de Catalyuna" provide a textural link), means that The Stone House is a truly unique record in its undercurrents from a multiplicity of musical perspectives, even if the overall vibe leans towards the similar but different kind of progressive improvisational music that Reuter makes in Stick Men. 

Stavi may play electric fretless on this session, but he's equally impressive on double bass and the fretted electric variety. Sirkis' kit is often a mad scientist's hybrid that includes, along with conventional kit components, anything from gourds to the hang made famous by Portico Quartet, whether he's in a more introspective trio with pianist Glauco Venier, the linguistically inimitable Lighthouse Trio with Garland and Simcock, or the more kickass fusion set, along with Stavi, on Mark Wingfield's superb but somewhat overlooked Proof of Light (MoonJune, 2015). But here, he seems largely focused on a conventional drum set. 

As for Wingfield, while it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between the guitarist and Reuter, there's little doubt that the mind-bending, psychedelia-driven wah-laden, heavily overdriven and feedback-infused solo in the middle of the groove-heavy "Silver" contains some of the guitarist's finest moments of the set, while the solo that follows—bolstered, as it is, by Wingfield's grabbed-from-the-ether pattern, Stavi's pedal tone and Sirkis' increasingly muscular playing—is pure Reuter, as he creates infinitely sustaining lines and outrageous leaps into the stratosphere. 

That this album was recorded in but a single day at La Case Murada in Catalunya, Spain makes the intrinsic chemistry on The Stone House all the more remarkable, even though there are preexisting musical connections in Stavi's work with Sirkis—extended even further in their collaboration on Wingfield's Proof of Light. Even better news? With Wingfield's arrival in Spain delayed, Reuter, Stavi and Sirkis went ahead and recorded for another full day, laying down another full album of music that will be coming, also on MoonJune, later this year. Both sessions speak to the remarkable ears possessed by everyone in the group. Clearly this is a group that listens as much as it plays, with the interaction between Wingfield and Reuter's similarly delay-driven, volume pedal-swelled lines on the rubato, evocative and imagination-inducing "Fjords de Catalunya" but one example of how these musicians effortlessly anticipate, respond to and use opportunity as a starting point for further collective exploration. 

This may be freely improvised music but is more akin to the philosophy of spontaneous composition; how, even though nobody in the group knows where the music is going to go when they pick up their instruments, there is still an overriding sense of purpose here, with countless points where one, two, three or all four of the players coalesce into something that suggests predetermination where there truly is none. 

Referring, again, back to Rava, The Stone House evokes a broad range of emotions through melodic, harmonic, rhythmic...and textural...means. Anything is allowed, and while individual predilections certainly color the result—Reuter, for example, being a soundscapist of the highest order—the end result is a set of seven compositions created in-the-moment, with everything from ethereal atmospherics and jagged landscapes to angular lines and singable melodies; hard-driving grooves and no-time crescendoes to flowing rubato streams; brief but telling glimpses of overt virtuosity in an "egos checked at the door" approach to music-making; and hints of influences ranging from interlocking guitar parts and irregular meters à la King Crimson, and Brian Eno-inspired ambient audioscapes, to the freer side of the late jazz trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and trace elements of David Torn's dense musical continuum. 

The CD version sounds terrific, but the CD quality download offers that added bonus track as an incentive, as does the high res download at 24-bit/88.2KHz, which sounds even better: a broader soundstage, greater detail and lots more oomph. 

It's an album that breaks many rules, but could only be made by four musicians who not only learned them first, but continue to apply them even as they find ways to push past them into new terrain. Completely unclassifiable, The Stone House is a record that will challenge many preconceptions while still being rooted in enough of the approachable to render its appeal to fans of progressive music, free improvisation with a purpose, and use of technology to create new sonic combinations that, when brought together with everyone's innate ability to find form in the most abstract empyrean reaches, has resulted in a career-defining record for everyone involved.


Track Listing: Rush; Four Moons; Silver; Fjords de Catalunya; Tarasque; Bona Nit Señor Rovira; Nepheline (bonus track, download-only).

Personnel: Mark Wingfield: guitar; Markus Reuter: Touch Guitars® AU8; Yaron Stavi: fretless bass; Asaf Sirkis: drums.

Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Moonjune Records | Style: Beyond Jazz

RONNIE SCOTT`S LIVESTREAM WITH JACOB COLIER 20.01.2017 AND SOME FOTO IMPRESSIONS FROM THE GIG!

https://www.ronniescotts.co.uk/news/101-ronnie-scotts-livestream#

Now also on youtube, the gig starts at 00:40 :

Featuring:

 JACOB COLLIER - vocals, piano, keys, harmoniser

ROBIN MULLARKEY - bass

ASAF SIRKIS - drums

STIAN CARSTENSEN - accordion/pedal steel

 

LIVESTREAM AVAILABLE:

DIRECTLY FROM RONNIESCOTTS.CO.UK

FACEBOOK LIVE (access here)

YOUTUBE LIVE (access here)