Missouri artist Adam Kalmbach – a co-founder of the independent label Jeshimoth Entertainment – writes and records music as Jute Gyte. Jute is a coarse fiber used in weaving, and “gyte” means “deranged” or “mad” in the Scots dialect.1 He has released almost 25 albums in a decade’s time, all of which are available as free digital downloads on the respective Bandcamp page, or as physical CD releases through Jeshimoth Entertainment.
Kalmbach is usually discussed in context of the extreme metal underground with regards to his work in “experimental microtonal black metal.”2 These releases represent a minority of the Jute Gyte productions; Kalmbach’s albums are primarily power electronics and dark ambient. In an interview with Teeth of the Divine, Kalmbach discusses the necessity of releasing heavy metal and ambient/noise releases under the same moniker, as “the same personality [is] coming through in the music… it’s still the same mind creating it.”3 The Jute Gyte project shares much in common with the (in)famous Norwegian artist Varg Vikernes, whose Burzum project utilizes a similar coalescence of black metal and dark ambient to create a milieu of misanthropy, mythology, and decay.3 Fittingly, Kalmbach acknowledges Vikernes’ influence upon Jute Gyte’s sound in an interview with heavy metal blog The Grind That Annoys, stating that “Burzum’s ‘Key to the Gate’ [i]s a model for the sort of adventurous, forward thinking black metal I want to write, progressive(sic) in the true and not generic sense.”4
Subcon is Kalmbach’s fourth full-length release as Jute Gyte and his third non-metal release.5 In Subcon‘s Bandcamp description, Kalmbach states that the album is “bleak industrial ambient” that utilizes “organic machines” and “lugubrious6 synthetic clusters.”7 While not as punishing as Merzbow – whom Kalmbach also acknowledges as an early influence8 – Subcon is a frequently distressing and despondent release. “Rain” is fifteen minutes of buzzing, high-pitched synthesizers and audio samples of falling water;9 “Pure” beings with a repetitive bass pluck before crashing power electronics take over. “Sign” is the creepiest track, which is due in no small part to an understated drone that shows how the idea of nothing can be scarier than something. Unlike most noise releases, Subcon occasionally has a beat, as demonstrated by opening number “Lung.”
Of the early Jute Gyte releases, Subcon is most recommended, and may be a good starting point for listeners who have yet to express the requisite level of masochism to enjoy noise, collage, and the harsher side of industrial music.
1. Lung – (9:32) – ★★★☆☆
2. Pure – (7:36) – ★★★★☆
3. Rain – (15:08) – ★★★★☆
4. Moon – (8:39) – ★★★☆☆
5. Days – (10:00) – ★★★★☆
6. Sign – (8:54) – ★★★★★
7. Weep – (11:14) – ★★★☆☆
1“Gyte | Definition of gyte by Merriam-Webster,” Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, accessed 11 October 2015, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gyte
2“NO CLEAN SINGING >> AN NCS INTERVIEW: ADAM KALMBACH (JUTE GYTE),” No Clean Singing, accessed 11 October 2015, http://www.nocleansinging.com/2014/09/26/an-ncs-interview-adam-kalmbach-jute-gyte/
3See Det Some Engang Var, the Burzum album on which “Key to the Gate” appears.
4“Jute Gyte Interview | The Grind That Annoys,” The Grind That Annoys, accessed 11 October 2015, http://thegrindthatannoys.com/2014/03/27/jute-gyte-interview/
5The two others – Arakan and Apidya – were power electronics and dark ambient, respectively.
6One of my favorite words in the English language. I vividly remember learning it back in sophomore year of high school. It means mournful or dismal, especially to an exaggerated degree. Think of a Scottish moor as described by Emily Brontë, or the after-dark graveyard in Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel when Van Helsing is searching for Lucy.
7“Subcon | Jute Gyte,” Bandcamp, accessed 11 October 2015, https://jutegyte.bandcamp.com/album/subcon
8“Jute Gyte Interview | The Grind That Annoys,” The Grind That Annoys, accessed 11 October 2015, http://thegrindthatannoys.com/2014/03/27/jute-gyte-interview/
9Also known as rain.