Sujo ~ Ondan

OndanIt’s encouraging to know that Ryan Huber (Sujo) is still scaring the crows off the wires in Indiana.  Ondan is an expanded version of a digital EP that had appeared six weeks earlier, but was so low profile that few fans had the chance to hear it.  The odd-numbered tracks are the “old” tracks – they’re SO last season!  Obviously, few will be able to tell the difference between the old and new; the selling point is the difference between this release and the ones that have come before.

At first, all is as expected, with Sujo’s signature sound occupying the back end of the title track.  As one hears the vibrating tones, thick feedback and rapid-fire drums of the second half, one can easily identify the artist’s fingerprints.  But after releasing so many albums in the past few years, Huber has smartly continued to branch out.  His strength remains in his bombast, but bombast is nothing without contrast, a contrast that he is thankfully able to deliver.  By inserting the calmer (but not quite sedate) “Lost Numbers” between “Ondan” and “Gaol”, Sujo helps listeners to appreciate the thickness of his production.  In the midst of battle, even warriors need time to catch their breath.  The closing two minutes of “Gaol” offer yet another surprise, as a quintet of distorted, repeated chords give way to digital splashes that echo as loudly as the footsteps of a prehistoric behemoth.

“Mrk 421” likely refers to Mark 4:21, which reads, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed?  Instead, don’t you put it on a stand?”  The passage refers to “letting one’s light shine”, sharing one’s gifts and talents with others.  The track itself is as subdued as rolling fog, but Sujo seems to be making a point: he doesn’t want to be known simply for being loud, as quiet can be just as effective.  When “Peste” erupts, one realizes that the original Ondan was distinguished more by volume than texture, and that the track’s concluding recession was the first set’s most restrained sequence.  The eight minute “Oxide” makes a better closer, as it is one of Sujo’s most unassuming pieces to date, gently sinking into the mud like the last plesiosaurus.  (Richard Allen)

Available here

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