Jazz FusionMusickReviews

Inside Group – One and Zero (CD review)

Not that long ago I’ve received this nice digipack from my friend Peci Uher, the main person behind this band/project. He was instrumental years before in Slovak melodic death/doom metal band from Humenne (my home town) called Daybreak and although they never made it to be a really big/well-known band, they left behind a nice legacy with their only demo (and a promo).

However this is not Daybreak, but Peci remains the same. A brilliant guitarist, he’s never stopped developing his guitar skills and this CD only confirms it.

Inside Group (left to right): Viliam Stanek, Peci Uher, Villiam Cicoň

It’s quite unusual for me to listen to stuff like this, as we’re in jazz/jazz fusion waters, but you know I am open to almost any style of music, so that’s not really a problem. And with any quality music and instrument virtuosity, there shouldn’t ever be any.

So, what do we have here? The 2016 album “One And Zero” contains 9 instrumental tracks and they sounds like a gentle stroke on your head after a really, really long and hard day. Nothing here is violent, the melodies and harmonies are smooth and refreshing, confirming the fact those musicians definitely know what to do with their instruments.

The band with Michael “Patches” Steward (second from the left)

The very first song, “One and Zero”, lending its name to the whole album, opens with a great trumpet melody performed by Michael “Patches” Stewart – who was a guest musician on this album – reminding the listener of this old noir atmosphere, dimly lit bars with the tiny clouds of smoke from long cigarettes… and I wouldn’t mind to last it longer that it actually does, but alas…it quickly change to a great sounding, pulsing conversation between still dominant trumpet and other instruments. Guys really started with a heavy caliber of helluva listenable song here and I think I can put this on repeat straight away.

“Joy and Fear” is the second track, starting with this melancholic, moody atmosphere of ambient guitar and percussions and a nice guitar solo on top of that, after a little while percussions are exchanged for a regular drums and the now recognizable bass line add the proper strength. Anothe fantastically sounding and emotionally charged piece.

I was afraid “White Drugs” would sound basically the same as the previous song, as the opening borrows from the same moody atmosphere, but I was – luckily – proved wrong and my fears unfounded. Great riffs and the rhythm section just blows everything off its way. Drum work is just to die for! Another great song from this CD and another favorite of mine!

The next song’s title made me smile, as it’s call “Cicinka”, but it was not what I was thinking about haha… As Peci explained, it’s a made up story about a buxom girl walking by the Torysa river (a river in eastern part of Slovakia) looking for the love of her life. Big boobs are great, however, the song is even better. Refreshing, jolly song full of great energy. This one will make you want to dance.

“Random Flight” is another moody piece, the moodiness being evoked by this dream-like guitar. Imagine the footage of flying motorless airplanes, the birds… an easiness, a momentous carelessness, that what this song sounds like. It’s about closing your eyes and just fly in your consciousness. By the way, nice drums in the middle of the song, bringing – once again – the interesting aspect to the music. And suddenly I am feeling sleepy. Yeah, this album makes you totally relaxed, which I definitely needed.

Not finished with that relax? Cool, as “Night Sky” will just neatly prolong this nice feeling of easiness with soft tones and the underlaying bass strokes. And this is definitely stuff you might want to choose to fall asleep to – or make love to. The image of night sky full of stars is well painted here and the feelings and moods are high. I love this song.

Wakey, wakey, sleepyheads, it’s time to rise and shine! “The Running Man” is a fitting title to this fresh sounding song, again, the sound of guitar is well complemented with the bassline (and again, I love when I can hear the bassline loud and clear). This is also the second longest song on this CD, running for 8:34. And I have to say it doesn’t grab me as tightly as those before, although that doesn’t mean it’s a bad song. The structure is clear, the writing without a fault, guys playing with ease…but it’s just not as catchy as other songs. Enough said.

Ján Kopčák playing his part in “The Glacier Trilogy”

“The Glacier Trilogy”, according to information available, is apparently the most popular song from this CD. Clocking at 2 second above 10 minutes, it’s getting some boost from Ján Kopčák with his tenor sax and it just confirms what people say – the song is really fantastic and 10 minutes runs like a moment. I have to admit I was little concerned if guys can keep my attention during the duration of the whole song, but yes, they did. Not the best song of the album, as I still like “Night Sky” more, but one of the highlights indeed!

Last track here is a reprise/bonus of “One and Zero Bonus”, again, with Michael “Patches” Stewart. And I do enjoy it as much – or maybe even more – than when I hear it for a first couple of times. This is the perfect opening and closing of the album.

So, all said and done, what else to add? Well, if you like good instrumental music, check this one, as it definitely won’t disappoint anyone with a healthy appreciation for people knowing their way with the instruments. For me, it was a nice introduction to jazz fusion – the genre I haven’t never listened to, but I just might start to explore a little more.

Check Peci Uher’s Youtube channel here

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peci.uher

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Rudolf Schütz

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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