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Jü — III
(RareNoise RNR, 2021, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2022-03-05

III Cover art

Never a band to stay in one place long, Jü’s third album brings more influences into their noisy experimental jazz-rock. This time out, four of the ten tracks are based on traditional Southeast Asian tunes and one is an adaptation of a piece by Indian yogi Baba Somanath Ji. In addition, two guest musicians appear on many of the tracks: vocalist Dóra Győrfi and electronic artist Bálint Bolcsó. Győrfi’s presence is felt first, with vocal flights embellishing “Palaran,” backed by feedback, some kind of acoustic stringed instrument, and percussion. Google Translate suggests that the title is Javanese, though I haven’t been able to find any direct reference to the traditional source. In any case, it’s a great track, and a perfect way to open the album. They jump right into “Cerberus,” which combines an Eastern European folk rhythm with touches of surf rock for a wonderful instrumental jam. The trio is augmented by some electronic processing, presumably Bolcsó’s work. Ádám Mészáros turns in a guitar solo that is creatively unhinged, with tones mangled and bent in a most appealing way. After that workout, “Oak” provides a moment of calm, with droning backing to a meditative melody on the guitar. With the rhythmic patterns and the scales used, “Ash” reminds me of something Tohpati might do, though with a rougher edge. On “Cornucopia” the backing guitar part has a bell-like tone reminiscent of gamelan, and the various contrasting sections of the piece make it one of the highlights of the album. III shows Jü growing and exploring new influences with fascinating results, and is probably their best album to date.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

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