Form and Void: Who is Sujo?


Hello, and welcome back to Form and Void. When we left off, you guys were enjoying the soothing sounds of Herukrat and Machismo, and our beloved editors were shaking their heads wondering how things had gotten so out of hand. Much time has passed, your pal Edward has covered heavy metal since (much to the delight and admiration of those same editors), but this story has been brewing for some time. This edition of Form and Void was born out of a story which I started but did not complete, and:

a) permanently shelved said article which caused me to sob about it in therapy

b) set my laptop computer on fire which caused me to accidentally burn down my condominium complex

c) emailed the editors in a panic asking if one of them could pretend to be me to finish the story

d) discovered a then-new-to-me-artist and broadened my musical and my noise-ical horizons through research and listening

Can you guess the correct answer? It’s d. The correct answer is d. If you are hoping for another vocal heavy, blasting power electronics album you might be disappointed until our next go-round (unless I’m fired from the site entirely for that – god damn it Edward, you’re fired. More power electronics? We’ve had it. Enough of this shit. You’re fucking fired. Clean out your desk immediately). The artist I discovered was Sujo.

This is the first and title track from Sujo’s Eliat, released in 2011 on Quiet World.

Information about the man behind the Sujo moniker is limited. His name is Ryan Huber, he runs a label called Inam Records, and he has an additional noise project called Olekranon (SOURCE). I believe he hails from Dartmouth, MA. He has been referred to as a legend by at least one person on the internet. He does not have a website, Bandcamp for Sujo, or music available on Spotify. Music reviewer Chaim Drishner believes this is intentional to let the music speak for itself. Sujo creates a compelling mixture of sounds which writers have labeled black metal, dark ambient, doom, drone, electronics, industrial, jazz, noise, post-rock, and shoegaze, among others.

Sujo’s earliest albums were self-released in extremely limited physical quantities on his Inam Records label. In fact, much of his work is very difficult to track down! Lucky for you, dear reader, some of his music has surfaced for mass consumption through the hands of others. These albums will be the focus of my coverage here today. You can hear the fourth track “Entebbe” from Sujo’s Kahane (2012) here.

Sujo & Sun Hammer | Fistula | Inam Records | 2012

Sujo + Sun Hammer - Fistula

Sujo | Repent + Ondan | Auris Apothecary | 2013

Sujo - Repent + Ondan

Sujo’s 2012 collaboration with Sun Hammer, Fistula, is an exercise in moving between minimum and maximum volume. This album is methodically constructed. The first track, “OSD”, opens with the sound of scraping on a microphone, and moves between subtle droning to a crescendo of noise. The album follows suit. Like a drone/noise Pixies album, the loud/quiet/loud formula is played to great effect here. There are two interesting things about this. First, I almost always prefer my noise with vocals. Without vocals, noise is just that. Fistula has retained my interest over several listens without a powerful or menacing vocal performance. Second, this album to quite pleasant, which is a stark contrast from the type of noise covered in this column previously.

Repent + Ondan is a combination of two 2013 Sujo CD releases, picked up by Auris Apothecary. Repent + Ondan is far removed from the drone of Fistula. It contains drone and noise elements, but much more is on display musically. Songs range from driven industrial numbers, to sample constructed black metal, to soaring shoegaze; the variety on display here is almost dizzying. Two immediate standouts are the tremolo-filled “Ondan” and the clanging “Gaol”. Separately, Repent and Ondan are the last known Sujo releases. Repent + Odan is available via Bandcamp; it’s over an hour of music for only $3.00. This appears to be the longest break in his activity since 2008. I discovered a year old “dronegaze” collaboration featuring Ryan Huber, but I hope we have not heard the last of Sujo.

Photos via & via & via

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