Ship of Theseus

by Jute Gyte

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Gargoyles of history beckoning Authorities of night The absolute opposition of thought and being The reduction to nothing by judgment and hand Immolated on the world’s altar Insects devouring one another on an atom of mud Festivals of atonement A game with ideas The word always dies where the claim of some reality is total
I cannot countenance the thought Of broken glass remaining broken glass The experience of repetition as death Memories once shifting grown solid Dismantling the past piece by piece Self-contempt and hatred for the lost self The full force of time’s depth’s horror Cast back to the chain of desires Nailed to the cross of the ruined past Regression and nullification Greed of time and being
The knot of the braid The caves and meadows of the flesh The hopelessness at the heart of lust Grief like the growing vine My hopes in you have made me sick Heron stillness in summer water Lopped logs rotting in the moss Altars without offerings Gardens sown with dust
Wolves of water Might of blind force Living movement of sunlight Currents churning The reflecting edges of the shale Soft rains pierce hard marble Heat seeps through the silver There is only mixing and dissociation Nothing remains What is the life that I have chosen? The wave-shattered hull Theseus in the labyrinth Hunched in a cave of broken myths
The force which shapes blades on a hill of sickness The grafted skin and clinging cerements The overwhelming indifference of nature The procession of each successive moment The appeal for pity resonating in the void The black-lipped wound that mouths oblivion Machinery that renders debt infinite
Fixed to decay Knotted by habit The rituals of bound bodies The dull resonance that vibrates through these days The afternoon’s meshes Pale clotted light I tremble in nightmares of silence Lonely nights in empty houses The night’s slow poison Aimless years from nothingness to nothingness again Kneeling before a void Brought into being in order to suffer New and dreadful liberty Pain and wrath are the singers The great work is a stone


Elaborating on the themes of continuity of consciousness, identity and change, there is a lot of imitative polyphony on this album. The title track opens with a two-voice canon (A), followed by a riff derived from that canon, itself joined halfway through by a second guitar in an inversion canon. After this riff, a new two-voice canon (B) appears which is joined at its midpoint by a return of the first canon, creating a four-voice double canon. The inversion canon riff recurs, followed by another inversion canon riff, derived from canon B, that ends the track,. "Grief of New Desire" opens with a four-voice, four-note canon. The note sequence D-half flat, C-half sharp, D flat, C natural is repeated on four guitars, each in a different octave, each starting on a different note in the sequence. Because all four pitches are in constant circulation the effect is harmonic stasis, though the shifting registers create an illusion of cyclical movement like a sound-object being rotated. The slow riff which follows becomes a canon. "Lugubrious Games (Sans Frontières)" opens with a canon backed by delayed (hence canonic) drums; "Machinery That Renders Debt Infinite" includes inversion canons.

The closing line of "Lugubrious Games", "the word always dies where the claim of some reality is total", is from Jean Amery's At the Mind's Limits, as are several other lines used in this album's lyrics. Much of the title track's lyric is drawn from Lucretius. The title "Pain and Wrath Are the Singers" is drawn from Robinson Jeffer's translation of Medea; that song's line "aimless years from nothingness to nothingness again " comes from Lovecraft. The wordplay "the afternoon's meshes" is D.F. Wallace's.

"Ship of Theseus’s lumbering compositions are calculated and ponderous, taking time away from their polyrhythmic antagonism to sojourn into prickly clean guitar passages and unsettling intervals of noise and samples.... Much like abstract art, Ship of Theseus is devoid of many of the things we normally find pleasurable in music, yet still might manage to generate significance and potentially even beauty for (some of) those who take the time to parse its inaccessible facade. I’m positive that I don’t understand much of what Kalmbach is doing here, and calling Jute Gyte “difficult to listen to” is putting it rather lightly (this stuff makes Paracletus sound like Sunbather, and this record is actually on the “mellower” side for Kalmbach), but Ship of Theseus is an inarguably impressive work in its vision, organization and execution." -

"Completely inhuman, microtonal black metal executed with machine-like precision and an extremely deep knowledge of 20th century/modern classical composition techniques. To put it in laymen’s terms, this sounds like an alien, spectral ship melting into a sea of disembodied, amorphous flesh. Try and wrap your head around this – it will take a bit." - Invisible Oranges


released June 1, 2015

All music, lyrics and design by Adam Kalmbach
Created October 2012 - May 2014


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