In the context of more adventurous musics, any appearance of melody kinda feels like a compensatory gesture, a way to temper the emphasis lately on things like texture, juxtaposition, and sound quality. Perhaps this is why Jodis’ 2009 debut, Secret House, felt so unexpected, especially for a group that featured Aaron Turner (ISIS, Mamiffer, Old Man Gloom, Lotus Eaters), James Plotkin (Khanate, Khlyst, Lotus Eaters, Phantomsmasher), and Tim Wyskida (Khanate): instead of heavy dirges and visceral dynamics, we were treated to minimal riffs and plodding rhythms that served to accentuate a melodious center. This approach is expanded on the group’s forthcoming follow-up, Black Curtain: here, Jodis don’t just play notes to fill space; they create space itself, allowing the elongated melodies to not only breathe, but also coexist with the instruments, a non-hierarchical marriage whose elements come together with both precision and deliberateness.
“Silent Temple” is an exemplary track. Turner’s deep, unaffected melodies don’t really “float above” the music; they’re embedded in a way that highlights their textural qualities. Any embellishments on the sort of dragging repetition and suspended aesthetics of this music would only detract from its monolithic qualities, proving that subtle, minimal dynamics can have just as much impact as the kind that jump up and down for attention. But rather than evoking a towering sense of elevation, Jodis keep things on level ground, aiming for clarity over complexity, mood over narrative, immersion over confrontation, all while articulating the tension between bleakness and hopefulness with an uncanny knack for the sublime. Listen here:
Black Curtain is out October 2 on CD/LP via Hydra Head and October 16 on 2xCS via SIGE.