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Eyal Maoz & Asaf Sirkis - Elementary Dialogues

Becky Firesheets, knocksfromtheunderground

The Maoz-Sirkis Duo brings straight-up experimentation to the traditional concepts of jazz, blending both composed and improvised music to create an interesting and inventive whole, as seen on their latest release, Elementary Dialogues (Ayler Records - 2009). Both musicians have serious chops, Asaf Sirkis playing complicated fills and patterns on the drum kit while Eyal Maoz dances up and down his guitar strings to his own melodic pattern. At times the two play well off each other, interweaving their notes and even dueling a bit. Other times feel less cohesive, Sirkis drumming an intricate solo while Maoz plays complicated riffs. Not limited to just the notes, Maoz also squeals from his guitar and even takes a more percussive approach with heavy strumming and syncopated sounds that randomly interject throughout the album. Straying very much from jazz, Elementary Dialogues could even be considered a quieter version of noise rock, its songs combining a multitude of sounds and ideas.

Song “Strip” is the highlight, beginning with an eerie yet pleasing guitar passage backed up with intermittent cymbal and snare hits. Maoz and Sirkis then fall into a fast-paced break before Maoz takes over with a more experimental solo. The two switch off lead and then settle into a swing feel, Sirkis playing the ride cymbal with a slightly lazy vibe while Maoz warps the pitches of his psychedelic rock inspired solo. The song switches to a heavier feel for the finish, Sirkis jamming out while Maoz plays very high and very low notes simultaneously, imitating a whale call of sorts. Sirkis fades into a quiet yet constant cymbal ring while the whale call continues, and then abruptly, the song ends.

While The Maoz-Sirkis Duo has the ability to clear a room, they most definitely have the ability to pack it as well. Their experimentations will deter those who look for a more structured song, yet their creative take on improvisation and their instruments in general will inspire others. Check out their CD release party tomorrow night, Monday June 22, at Zebulon in Williamsburg, and purchase your own copy of Elementary Dialogues.