Ah fuck, surely it’s too early in the year for a two-and-a-half hour, one-track Jute Gyte album? Or so I thought in these early days of January. I generally get a visceral wtf any time I explore Adam Kalmbach’s back catalogue, as the pendulum swings violently from dissonant, microtonal black metal, to the type of ambient works filed under Aphex Twin on a David Lynch bender. Time and a place and all that, though.
I clicked play on Bandcamp and expected a Raiders of the Lost Ark moment, waiting for Jute Gyte’s wretched squalls to writhe around me and wring out all the Christmas and New Year booze and junk, and deliver an angel of death fear-hangover. And then… serenity. Well, almost. Diapason is a 145-minute ambient drone piece that strangely recalibrates your brain after chattering weeks of COVID Tiers and Levels, Boris and Donald, smashed plans and washing down Celebrations with room temperature Guinness.
According to the notes, it’s a “five-voice mensuration canon at the fifth on the 24EDO series 0, 23, 14, 9, 4, 19, 18, 5, 8, 15, 22, 1, 12, 11, 2, 21, 16, 7, 6, 17, 20, 3, 10, 13”. If you don’t quite get that, imagine the hum from a vast 1960s supercomputer control room, with the hint of a droning church pipe organ occasionally wafting in. I know I’m supposed to wait for musical loops to be fulfilled and realised, and there’s a lot of academic thinking behind Diapason, but it’s acting more like a hoover in front of a crying baby — a soothing balm. Then again, if you prefer your Jute Gyte to be a bit more depraved, there’s always ‘Like the Woodcutter Sawing His Hands’.