Band: Jute Gyte
Genre: Black Metal, Avant-Garde, Microtonal
Release Date: July 10th, 2017
There has been an overwhelming trend in black metal over the last few years to ditch minor chords and chord progressions for their major counter part. Taking leads from Deafheaven as well as post-rock goliaths God Speed! You Black Emperor and This Will Destroy You, the genre has been trending in a way that has represented a predominance in expansiveness, warmth, and dare I say it, beauty. The end result of all of this has turned black metal into a more accessible art form.
Jute Gyte, however, are not that band. And Oviri is certainly not that album.
Adam Kalmbach has been creating music under the moniker Jute Gyte since the early 2000’s. While black metal is no stranger to the experimental and avant-garde, what sets Jute Gyte apart from the rest of the field is Kalmbach’s use of guitars retrofitted to utilize microtonality, creating sounds that typically lie between the notes you would most typically hear on any guitar. It’s this that creates the unsettling and skin crawling atmosphere that marks Jute Gyte’s sound.
Named after Paul Gaugin’s statue of the Tahitian Goddess for mourning, Oviri not only continues to play with microtonality, but we can also hear Kalmbach’s manipulation of time and tempo throughout many of the tracks. The album’s opener “Democritus Laughing” begins with a single guitar adding an extra note in each measure until the drums blast themselves into existence; notes which, it must be added, were randomly chosen by rolling a 24-sided die. The following two tracks, “Mice Eating Gold” and “Yarinareth, Yarinareth, Yarinareth” each contain sections in which two guitars begin at different tempos, one gradually gaining tempo over time and the other gradually slowing in tempo until they reach a midpoint and pass each other.
Most of the tracks on Oviri maintain this idea, having multiple sections where guitars are playing at different and competing tempos, often happening separately on the right and left side of your speakers. Reprieve is often found, though momentarily, in most tracks by long and ethereal bits of electronic atmosphere. The overall experience for the listener is a feeling in which everything is in constant flux, the feeling I would imagine something akin to being sucked into a black hole. Or watching an early David Lynch movie. Or having a bad fever. And while it may all seem, at first listen, as though this is all intentionally randomized simply to be unsettling for the sake of being unsettling, I would argue this is an ill-informed thought. If Kalmbach has made one thing clear, it is that nothing is ever entirely unintentional. These creations meant to keep the listener in a constant state of flux seem to extenuate the title of the album. After all, what is mourning if not for a deeply unsettling and grotesque state of constant emotional flux, leading one to feel almost as though they are always drifting either into or out of physical existence?
Listening to Jute Gyte is the musical equivalence to being trapped in a small tent with a mosquito. It’s unnerving, unsettling, and a chore to make it through. But it is a sound that doesn’t ever seem to leave you, and with each rotation you begin to feel more and more at peace with it. Oviri is thus something that you must listen to, if only to experience once.
- Democritus Laughing
- Mice Eating Gold
- Yarinareth, Yarinareth, Yarinareth
- Fuana of Mirrors
- The Norms That the Author the Self Render the Self Substitutable
Total Playing Time: 74:54