Sujo + Sun Hammer: Fistula

Grit your teeth and grind your way into Fistula, a batch of noise-based experimental pieces from Sujo and Sun Hammer thatn are going to test your tolerance and your understanding. Given that Sujo is a side-moniker of Ryan Huber, whose work as Olekranon has intrigued and challenged me, I expected a similar situation going into this and, weighing just on that side of the scale, Fistula doesn’t disappoint. The majority of what’s here is huge walls of smashed-together sound, the aggressive cousin of white noise, building to a ferocious density. But that’s the face-value listen.  Huber, who handed his sandpapery constructs over to Sun Hammer (aka Jay Bodley) to polish them up, has a way of wedging a downplayed post-rock aspect to his masses of industrial sound . You hear it lurking under the pure weight of the machine-hum drones in “Safian” and “Hari.” It’s not a matter of really hearing them, it’s more a matter of having a sudden recognition that in this maelstrom of unrelenting sonic force, your head goes, “Hey…I think I heard a rhythm.” And that’s what keeps you digging in, you see? The fact that recognizable anchors suddenly rise up in an otherwise dizzying, unstoppable assault of drone. Look: Fistula isn’t for everyone. It’s barely for me, but I’ve acquired a sort of slightly begrudging appreciation for this stuff over time, IF it’s got something more to offer than a sort of  “screw you” anti-music sensibility. And Huber’s got it nailed. On the surface, this is static, both literal and figurative; at its core there is a slow dynamic at work. The disc builds to a frenzied tangle of sound, then works its way back out–but never entirely. The title track is a great example–the sudden release from the sound-beating you’re taking comes with the growing understanding that it’s about to start again. Is it enjoyable? Hell, no. And it’s not supposed to be. It’s a matter of gritting your teeth and enduring. Welcome to Huber’s world. Daring sonic adventurers should take a listen–mileage is going to vary widely on this. For me, I like turning the sound up and taking my industrial licks.

Available from Bandcamp.

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