Foul Alchemy

Foul Alchemy #2: Jute Gyte, Ship of Theseus

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Foul Alchemy

Man, I knew you guys preferred spreading gossip and drinking the Haterade to actually discussing music, but I was pretty disappointed by the lack of flaming last week. Ok, Indricothere are a great band, so maybe there isn’t a ton to argue about there. But if we want to move closer towards stirring the pot, this week’s artist seems like a pretty good candidate.

Tell me: Is microtonal music a gimmick? Is it sacrilege to play black metal on a Squier? Who would win in a no-holds-barred cage wrestling match between Ephemeral Domignostika and Adam Kalmbach? Next installment, we’ll dig into something a little older and more down to earth, but until then, I wanna hear your answers to these q’s and find out how you feel about the polarizing, unique, and possibly deranged….

Jute Gyte - Ship of Theseus
Jute Gyte – Ship of Theseus (Jeshimoth Entertainment)

Few recent artists have made such inimitable music as Missourian Adam Kalmbach, architect behind the protean madness of Jute Gyte. Kalmbach is more prolific than most Soundcloud producers – he’s released 21 full-lengths of black metal, noise, and experimental electronic music as Jute Gyte since 2010 – but his June record Ship of Theseus is as good a place to start as any. Though “black metal” arguably works as a descriptor for the blast beat-riddled chaos, Jute Gyte’s music bears little resemblance to other BM acts regardless of era or geographical origin. It sounds distinctly foreign: Kalmbach works with microtonal guitar to create riffs that whine and sear as if the pitch of each and every note is being gnawed away by extra-dimensional insects. While most examples of microtonal metal seem closer to demonstrations than actual music, Jute Gyte has discovered how to utilize the awkward technique in a manner that’s almost elegant.

Ship of Theseus’s lumbering compositions are calculated and ponderous, taking time away from their polyrhythmic antagonism to sojourn into prickly clean guitar passages and unsettling intervals of noise and samples. There isn’t much to hold onto here: Ship of Theseus occasionally lurches into something that resembles a groove or a hook, but draws those sections out for so long that the riffs stop making sense like some sonic jamais vu (“Forces of Self-Shedding”) or warps its grooves into lengthy, seasick back-and-forths (“Grief of New Desire”).Much like abstract art, Ship of Theseus is devoid of many of the things we normally find pleasurable in music, yet still might manage to generate significance and potentially even beauty for (some of) those who take the time to parse its inaccessible facade. I’m positive that I don’t understand much of what Kalmbach is doing here, and calling Jute Gyte “difficult to listen to” is putting it rather lightly (this stuff makes Paracletus sound like Sunbather, and this record is actually on the “mellower” side for Kalmbach), but Ship of Theseus is an inarguably impressive work in its vision, organization and execution.

Consume Ship of Theseus and all of Jute Gyte’s other offerings for any amount of your choosing on Bandcamp:

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