Free Metal Detector: Jute Gyte – The Sparrow EP


Adam Kalmbach once again welcomes us into the fractured landscape of his deranged mind.

Much has been made of the duality of Jute Gyte‘s discography. Rather than segmenting his black metal and electronic music into two separate entities, Kalmbach, Jute Gyte’s sole creative force, continues to release both styles under a unified moniker. Perhaps this is done to provoke fans of one genre or another. Perhaps it’s done to avoid an embarrassing Xasthur-esque rebranding. Or, most likely, it’s done purely because Kalmbach sees both creative outlets as equally valid and relevant to the goals of Jute Gyte.

Whatever the case, the two disparate streams find equal citizenship on the new 12″ EP, The Sparrow. The black metal half of Jute Gyte claims ownership of the EP’s first side with the self-titled “The Sparrow.” It’s a fascinating exploration at Kalmbach’s hyper-restrictive songwriting heuristics. According to the Bandcamp page:

“The Sparrow” is built around a nine-note quarter-tone cluster spanning C natural to E natural, with D natural, in the center, forming the drone at the heart of the track. With the exception of the sections from 2:30 to 6:40 (see below), those nine notes are the only pitches that appear in the song.

Kalmbach’s notes continue in as painstaking fashion as the music to detail his own self-restricting creative process. By limiting himself to a distinct set of rules, Kalmbach taps into a creative environment within which he can flourish; “The Sparrow” is perhaps the most unassailable and confounding black metal song in Jute Gyte’s arsenal. Yet, the premise is simple. The heart of this song is a single, pulsing drone, and upon this singular thread all other instrumentation and vocalization hangs. Those other eight tones cluster and explode and sizzle and whisper throughout the track to drive us mad, but the central drone is maintained, pressing forward like some obscene obsidian pillar into the heart of conventionality.

Kalmbach’s creative process is an interesting one, not too dissimilar from the chains of self-restraint placed by Voidcraeft on his own music. As a thought experiment, “The Sparrow” excels at showing us how far resourceful artists can push their craft. As a metal song, “The Sparrow” is a demanding listen that somehow remains compelling despite its lack of accessibility. And now Kalmbach wants you to experience it, totally gratis.

The digital download of “The Sparrow” is complemented by an electronic B-side called “Monadanom.” Despite its similar length and inaccessibility, it differs from “The Sparrow” in that it showcases Kalmbach’s famously hands-off approach to ambient music. Although we don’t have extensive notes for “Monadanom” detailing its creation and execution, it’s easy to surmise from Jute Gyte’s other electronic records that Kalmbach continues to dabble with stochastic creation within the machine realm, merely writing the scripts and letting them run amok like wayward, vengeful ghosts. If “The Sparrow” is an exercise in restraint, perhaps “Monadanom” is a dalliance in pure, spontaneous indulgence.

Thankfully, the two halves form an appropriately gloomy whole, one that is brooding and melancholy and not something to listen to on a verdant Spring day. This is music for the witching hour when the snow refuses to relent. This is a raw look at creative vulnerability.

Plus it’s totally free and worth 40 minutes of your time.

You can get The Sparrow here for free. However, you should consider purchasing the 12″ to get some additional stuff! Kalmbach always sends his media in excellent packaging, so it’s worth every penny.

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