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The Sparrow
by Jute Gyte
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The post-genre sounds Blue Tapes and X-Ray Records has mined and curated over the past couple of years might not immediately code as metal, but as early as our home-dubbed tape days we were exploring death metal’s potential as vocal-only music with blue ten: EyeSea.

Jute Gyte is unambiguously metal music and I genuinely believe that Adam Kalmbach, the sole musician and producer behind the project, is the most important musician in metal since Death’s Chuck Schuldiner, himself the most important metal musician since Tony Iommi, the man whose fingers created metal.

As a teenager into the Mortal Kombat soundtrack and Nine Inch Nails, Adam learnt metal guitar. Later, he studied composition at university, and had his brain nuked by early and baroque music, serialism and Sibelius, and the universes of potentials opening like wormholes in his head created Jute Gyte.

Jute Gyte applies microtonality and modernist compositional approaches to black metal. This isn’t in itself what makes Jute Gyte’s music great, though it does explode one thing that has slowly narrowed into a conservative musical tradition out into something new, that no one has heard before. New sounds and new feelings.

This is not dry, academic music. It is scientific, exploratory, but as physical as the most brutal splatters of 1991-era death metal, which - despite using gore as a convenient if slightly-knuckleheaded shorthand for the abstract, lurching new riff forms of the genre - had a transdimensional element even then.

Jute Gyte’s orchestra of microtonal guitars sounds as though it is vomiting blackholes. But maybe what initially scans as occult horror in Jute Gyte’s music is just seasickness caused by the unfamiliarity of this new terrain.

“I understand how stuff I've done sounds ugly to people,” Adam concedes, “but it doesn't sound ugly to me. Or, it doesn't sound exclusively ugly. It's just a different kind of language. If you haven't internalised that language, then you're going to hear a lot of things that sound like 'wrong' notes. I hear little musical jokes, I hear happy parts and sad parts, and I hear a lot of parts that don't seem to have any emotive content at all. It's not just uniformly ugly, just as Schoenberg's work is not intended to be uniformly ugly.”

For x-ray five, Adam has crafted two side-long pieces. The first of these, The Sparrow, is a kind of modernist black metal symphony that might share some signifiers with the despair-loaded blizzard hymns familiar to fans of Norwegian BM. But those beautiful flocks of guitars - sometimes they sound like they’re hovering, or scrolling back and forth, rather than ‘riffing’. A dazzling murmuration. And it wasn’t some grimoire that provided the lyrical inspiration for the piece, but Stoner author John Edward Williams’ 1965 poetry collection, The Necessary Lie.

The second piece, Monadanom, is from a suite of ambient microtonal guitar pieces that Adam began developing for us in early 2014. It is oceanic, not in the usual new age-y sense most often applied to ambient music, but in that it is raging with life and detail; unfathomable.

Self-released Jute Gyte albums like Perdurance, Ship of Theseus and Ressentiment are acknowledged as modern classics not only of metal or experimental music, but of any genre.

Adam doesn’t self-promote or use social media, play live or collaborate with other artists, but a fiercely loyal fanbase has already swarmed around him. This is his first full release with a label and I consider it to be one of the most important releases for Blue Tapes and X-Ray Records.

This is a metal record, but for me, it makes total sense that Jute Gyte would be on the same label as Katie Gately and Tashi Dorji, rather than Roadrunner or even Relapse. These humans are his peers - artists who are changing people’s perceptions of the possibilities of modern music at a cellular level.

Adam Kalmbach is influenced by Harry Partch, Xenakis, Penderecki, Gloria Coates, Mahler and Brahms; he regards Jute Gyte as belonging to a continuum of ‘late Romantic’ music.

Jute Gyte will appeal to any fans of Stockhausen, Morbid Angel, Sonic Youth, Gojira, Autechre, Blut Aus Nord, Deathspell Omega, Slayer, Tim Hecker, Daniel Lopatin, Khanate, Ulver, Anaal Nathrakh, Liturgy, Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson or Godflesh.
2016 - Blue Tapes and X-Ray Records - United States
Posted: 2nd January 2017
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