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«Tres Testosterones»

The trio Hang Em High offers psychotic and down-to-earth power-jazz, «hot like melted iron, cool as Clint Eastwood», blended with ambient punk and live electronics. The trio features Polish, 2-string bass player plus live electronics Bond (known also as James Radek Bond), leader of the Polish genre-blind group Miloopa and the pan-European Eklektik Orchestra and owner of the Gig Ant label; Swiss clarinet player Lucien Dubuis, who is «considered a genetic mixture of the chromosomes of a John Coltrane and the Beastie Boys», who has recorded with guitarist Marc Ribot and double bass master Barry Guy; and Austrian drummer Alfred Vogel who has recorded with sax player Mats Gustafsson, trumpeter Peter Evans and Guy (in a trio with Dubuis, «Heavy Metal Rabbit», Boomslang, 2016) and runs his Boomslang Records label and the Bezau Beatz festival in upper Austria.

«Tres Testosterones» is the third album of the trio, following the self-titled one and «Beef & Bottle» (both released by Gig Ant, 2013, 2014), and was recorded on September 2016 in Bezau, Austria. Its collector’s vinyl edition comes in handmade leather jackets (did I mention that Hang Em high is cool as Clint Eastwood?). Bond wrote all the songs except two and produced this album. It is clear from the first second that these musicians never experienced any lack of testosterone. On the contrary, this trio, with an instrumentation inspired by the influential American alt-rock trio Morphine – including the two string bass, sounds as enjoying its theatrical, testosterone-filled outlaw machismo.

Bond and Vogel know how to set an infectious, mean pulse, an uncompromising and aggressive but a playful one, sometimes clouded by distorted noises, that keeps challenging Dubuis emotional low-end flights with the bass and contrabass clarinets. Songs like «Tumbleweed», «Bowel of Power» and «Hashish Bolognese» are based on primitive, killer riffs, sounding as if coming from the lexicon of Led Zeppelin, but transformed into the complex harmolodics of Ornette Coleman and often wade in the colorful-psychedelic oceans of Sun Ra. «Kalilah» and «Lulu» (Vogel only piece) add to this spicy recipe to some exotic, sensual ingredients, coming from vivid Eastern fantasies. Other songs as «Bella Mortadella», «Kwaskowy» and «Wiewioreczka» suggest an open, free-improvised interplay and mysterious, dreamy atmospheres that can easily fit into a soundtrack of a futuristic TV series by David Lynch.  

I guess that you can’t hang these macho oulaws high enough. Apparently, such high level of testosterone may shield even such infamous outlaws.

Eyal Hareuveni

Bond (2-stringb, live elec), Lucien Dubuis (bsl, contrabcl), Alfred Vogel (dr, junk perc)

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