Hungarian trio Jü comprises guitarist Ádám Mészáros, bassist Ernő Hock and drummer Andras Halmos, and this is their third RareNoise release. Their second, Summa, bridged free jazz, hardcore rock and world and ambient music, and these elements recur in III, recorded at Supersize Studio in Budapest in 2021.
It’s an unfortunate name – I’m reminded of the notorious film about Ronald McDonald, Supersize Me – but appropriate too, because the music is larger than life. The ambitions are big, and so are the sounds – and the volume level.
The album explores East European rhythms plus a strong influence from South and South-East Asia, including Indonesian gamelan, and ecstatic devotional songs from India. The opening Palaran, with ecstatic vocals from Dóra Győrfi, reflects that description. Cerberus builds a powerful swing from its out-of-kilter additive rhythm.
Oak, Ash and Thorn form a trilogy based on melodies from Azerbaijan folk music and gamelan. Oak begins eerily, not in your face as most tracks are, and continues with a rather subdued groove, gradually building into something heavier.
In contrast, on Cornucopia, as the publicity rightly says, the groove is bludgeoning. The conclusion is Sumirana Karo Sada Dina Ratee, a bhajans or Indian devotional song by Baba Somanath Ji, sung by Halmos. The album is rather a stylistic mishmash whose ingredients can seem arbitrary, but it’s an engaging one nonetheless.
Palaran; Cerberus; Oak; Ash; Thorn; Bebek; Cornucopia; Shashka; Minerva; Sumirana Karo Sada Dina Ratee (43.12)
Ádám Mészáros (g); Ernő Hock (b); András Halmos (d); Dóra Győrfi (v); Bálint Bolcsó (elec). Budapest, February 2021.