Jute Gyte- “The Night Door Under Lock and Key/Laocoön”

Jute Gyte

We’re coming to the middle of my ongoing series in which I attempt to tackle Black Horizons‘ most recent batch of tapes. Today’s review comes with a disclaimer that when trying to describe Jute Gyte‘s music, one will always inherently fall short. It’s likely that even those with a deep comprehension of microtonal music will fail to capture something of the music’s essence when giving words to such vast and overwhelming sounds. With this in mind, I hope that my review of the newest Jute Gyte tape, The Night Door Under Lock and Key/Laocoön, will entice and educate at least a few of my readers about this essential artist. If you’re not already familiar with Jute Gyte’s extensive back catalog or the split with Venowl that I premiered about a year ago, this will serve as a welcome starting point, but should not be your sole experience with this talented one-man project.

While no two Jute Gyte releases are quite the same, this feels like two separate EPs fused into one simply packaged bundle of unease. The A-side is “The Night Door Under Lock and Key,” a twenty-minute piece of seemingly formless yet carefully crafted black metal. While the opening notes may appear to be two separate guitarists failing to stay together, it becomes evident that the distinct space between paths taken is intentional and in some strange way it makes perfect sense. With a shriek and a barrage of (programmed?) drums, the song kicks into its queasy and shifting brand of black atmospherics. Much of the time is spent with sounds that seem to squirm just out of one’s periphery as soon as they become familiar, a blurred and eternally just out of reach sort of familiarity. Vocals occasionally mar an already hideous backdrop with a frustrated and throaty snarl that brings everything a more human characteristic that would be otherwise lacking. Whether at its chunky slowest moments, at the bloated and suffocating blasted segments, or even at its minimalist, electronic denoument, this song demands attention in the ugliest ways at all times.

After such a furious A-side intent on establishing a specific sound, one can be forgiven for feeling pure surprise when presented with B-side “Laocoön,” which bares little resemblance to its partner yet serves as an appropriate companion. In spirit, both pieces are free from typical confining song structures and each has its own way of chilling the listener to the core, but “Laocoön” is a sparse plane of stretched out strums of single notes and meandering chords. Given that the tale of Laocoön is a classic Greek tragedy, the song’s mournful and haunting nature makes sense. After the chaotic wrath of the A-side, this is a welcome meditation on sadness, loss, and betrayal, showing that Jute Gyte is not just for those craving excessive and smothering blankets of microtonal guitar work, but is actually a project that alters its sound to fit whatever needs it may have. This is one of the strongest pieces of droning guitar I’ve heard in quite some time. As with anything featured here, it comes with the highest recommendation. Below is a video of the simple yet effective packaging from Black Horizons.