Ryan Huber –Dartmouth MA artist and founder of Inam Records— has worked under the names Sujo, Olekranon, and Vopat to cover his far-reaching interests in post-rock, drone, black metal, and ambient experimentation. Sujo’s new full-length Repent reminds me somewhat of Wolfgang Voigt’s much-loved Gas project in that it relies heavily on deep immersion and submission to a thick, ominous, but enchanting atmosphere. Of course, Sujo has a particular affinity for ambient black metal that Gas never really did, and it shows in the layers of hissing guitars and reliance on primitive drum machines to pound the sinister atmosphere further into the subconscious.
Moments in “Refuge” and “Repose” channel the bliss of shoegaze while “Scoundrels” is all black metal hyper-rhythms and ominous keyboards. “Nillin” perhaps channels the aforementioned Gas most faithfully, as long-sustained droney keyboards provide a hypnotic backdrop for distant, decayed drums. The track has the effect of suspending the listener in the moment, providing a warm enveloping nest of noise to rest in. The second movement of the track brings to mind a frigid gale passing over a snow-covered landscape.
There is alot to discover within the layers of Repent‘s thickly textured sound, and it’s a surprisingly varied journey with as many violent dirges as beautiful, brooding, dream-like moments of stasis. The title track brings both of these worlds together effectively, climaxing in one of the most graceful and gorgeous moments of the album. The closer “Asher” moves slow but assertive, enshrouded in Slowdive-esque keys and the familiar and warm distorted guitars that have at this point become the backdrop of Repent.
Repent is available at Auris Apothecary on cassette packaged with Sujo’s April 2013 release Ondan, which shares similar aesthetic concepts.