Sujo - Eilat
Over the past couple of years a steady stream of releases have made their way to me at Wonderful Wooden Reasons from the very enigmatic Inam Records. There's no website and very little information accompanying them. They generally featured one or other of two distinct bands either the intensly industrial hammerings of Olekranon or the soaring post-rock drones of Sujo. Both turned out to be the work of one Ryan Huber and I was immensely pleased when he agreed to participate in Quiet World.
I hope you enjoy his music as much as I do.
Ryan Huber also records as Sujo, and he made Eilat (QUIET WORLD NINETEEN) for Ian Holloway’s Quiet World label. This little release is notable for its monstrous title track – ten minutes of insane stoner rock mixed with coarse electronic droning keyboard elements and zombie-styled drum-pounding, this recording uses amplification and distortion to tremendous bludgeoning effect. A fine work of remorseless doom, only beaten into submission by its follower ‘Caliphate’, a beast which is another exemplar of distorted and silted-up noise but is lighter and faster on its hind paws. The need for expression is almost being stifled under the weight of its grandiosity – this ten-headed monster breathes much smoke and fire and nearly sets us alight in the process. ‘Jakarta’ alternates guitar-noise excess with thick and heavy drones, chanting voices, and bleak synthoid landscapes, pulling uncertainly across many stylistic territories; the extreme dynamics of loudness and quietness are overpowering, and the same device is used on the unsettlingly shrill ‘Yatom’. It’s a wonder Sujo can breathe when he’s making these suffocating multi-layered recordings, as he strives at times to out-sludge Nadja in the dangerous game of overdubbing and stacking. Grand stuff. But I sometimes wish Ryan would do it in a recording studio some time; his rich work can’t quite transcend the limitations of home recording equipment.
With an almost pathological lack of promotion, Sujo have quietly released some mini-masterpieces. Their latest, "Eilat," is on a relatively larger label, so though only fifty copies are available, this brilliant set of raw but wise drones ought to make more of the rounds in the marketplace.
Ryan Huber is the genius behind Sujo, and also, in a more noisy incarnation, behind Olekranon. Sujo seems to inspire the meditative and epic in Huber, and there is enough inspiration in these four songs that at least one will give you the itch to aim for the mystic.
The title tracks begins as a kind of noisy raga, a piercing tone leading to a muddy but oddly melodic minimalism, albeit one that grow progressively more harsh. Though the rest of the set follows more or less the same progression, Huber's colors and the emotional content of this swirling stew make for riveting listening. The sober coda to "Jakarta" extends into the first few minutes of the closing "Yatom," which slowly develops from a simple drone to an icy, majestic ambient ending reminiscent of Aun.
"Eilat" deliberately states its case and moves on. With simple but rich drones and bursts of power and quiet, Sujo once again shares its echoing and memorable sonic space with us.
Let’s get the obvious observation out of the way first. Sujo‘s Eilat may be a Quiet World release, but it sure ain’t quiet. After a minute of low end hum, cascading crumbles of radio interference begin to crash the party. The volume rises, the tone shifts, and woah - electric guitar and drums! Barn Owl would be proud. Yes, this is a black metal album, its only relation to quiet being its ability to pound everything around it into submission. Sullen bass, distorted feedback and a sense of claustrophobic doom paint Eilat with a very dark brush. The project arrives courtesy of the mysterious Ryan Huber, who emerges every so often from the labyrinthine shadows of the World Tree under another pseudonym to remind us that Ragnarok is still impending. As foreboding as this might sound, Huber’s brand of night is more elegant than most. The embedded strings in the second and fourth tracks contain an almost classical tinge. Huber may be a prophet of doom, but he’s also a priest of the divine.
Sujo is Ryan Huber, whose releases on Inam Records continually found their way to Ian Holloway and his Wonderful Wooden Reasons zine for review. Holloway, clearly taken by what he'd heard, extended an invitation to Huber for a release on Quiet World. Those familiar with the label's catalog will undoubtedly be taken aback at the album's sheer volume alone. Once the initial shock wears off it's not hard to see what Holloway was impressed by.
It's fair to call this a post-rock album, though definitely on the more metal/shoegaze side of things, not far removed from the work of Nadja. What's refreshing about Eilat is that even at its heaviest, it's far more insidious than it is just an assault on the senses: crushing drums, hammering guitar, and atrophied noise all come together with purpose. Also, the clinical feel of the drones, and the overall focus away from melody, gravitates this more towards the fringes than your average doom record. A surprising release, and one that'll likely get me hunting down more work by Huber. Highly recommended.
"Eilat" by Sujo is also a work of drones and ambience, this time from one Ryan Huber, invited by Ian Holloway to join the Quiet World network, but the album bursts into crashing drum textures also, making the listening experience pretty intense in places. Four tracks covering just over half an hour make a kind of gothic swamp of drums and drones, where the textures are both harsh and transcendent. Something rather different from the quiet world!
On the noise side we find Ryan Huber. Sometimes known as Olekranon with releases on his own Inam Records. As Sujo he plays loud drone music, absent of any rhythm at times, or very slow at its best. Slow and deep. I must say I am mildly surprised to find a Sujo release on Quiet World, as this is a place where one wouldn't expect it. A label with quite a status of quiet music, ambient and field recordings, and this is not were we will place with his Sujo music. A massive wall of sound, with lots of distorted guitars, those far away drum beats, which in title piece made me think of Skullflower. Four pieces of sheer noise rock which was nice, as such can be nice: in a small doses every now and then.
Frans de Ward, Vital Weekly
Vi proponiamo oggi un piccolo gioiello in tiratura limitata (50 copie), un album che ha le caratteristiche di una ‘inondazione’ sonora, un’immersione nel suono a tratti totalizzante, potente, carico di energia vitale.
Non sempre il noise è nichilismo, in questo caso è l’essenza stessa della vita e ci piace immaginare un futuro musicale per cui le direzioni dell’ambient power divergano verso mete opposte, integranti ed integrali.
Sujo è praticamente sconosciuto, non cerca la fama facilmente, evita social network e distrazioni pubblicitarie ed in parte è un peccato: le sue produzioni (cercatelo anche con altri monicker) sono testimoniate da una ricca produzione di nicchia e con grandi limiti numerici per Inam Records.
Grazie a Quiet World, alla caparbia volontà del suo coach che ha voluto fortemente il concept-sound di Sujo come testimonianza nella label gallese, abbiamo la possibilità di parlarvi di questo artista, della prepotente energia creativa, capace di ‘raccogliere’ la materia rigenerativa trasmettendo il vigore del suo shoegaze rivestendo totalmente l’ascoltatore senza centellinare le dosi, al contrario.
Apre la title-track; “Eilat” ‘assaggia’ le strutture droniche ‘glitchate’ ruvidamente, sarà poi la chitarra ad intervenire, distorta per un doom-noise che vuole il piede stabile sul looper nella gestione degli effetti, il preludio a “Caliphate”, la vera immersione.
“Caliphate” è ciò che vi attende realmente: una volata impennata di shoegaze emotivamente estatico, l’incendio sonoro come lo incontrate in tanti brani dei Godspeed You! Black Emperor senza il preludio sinfonico, loop potenti e batteria martellante, plettro infiammato per infiniti minuti di un fuoco sonoro vigoroso che si mitiga ma non si spegne.
Le rimanenti tracce sono prima braci che continuano a generare calore, “Jakarta” cupa in superficie, dronica e incandescente nell’intimo, “Yatom”, finale, rilassante, la vera calma rigenerata dopo la tempesta vitalizzante, anche la chitarra mantiene stabili i loop, i picking, ma ora prevale la quiete, una sensazione di post-orgasmo, accettatelo come uno dei momenti di massima distensione muscolare e cerebrale.
Quiet World continua il suo viaggio nel soundscape/landscape grazie a musicisti che si impegnano nell’ambient dalla forma indefinita, quasi ‘new-age’ d’espressione: Sujo è un aspetto importante dell’essere musicista di confine, i chakra sono aperti, la percezione del suono vi chiede di schiudere i recettori e lasciarvi guidare, amorevolmente, nei tunnel dell’astratto.