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Voidoven: A Diaristic Reflection on Hauras's Album Pervades

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

By Maxwell Shanley

It starts with pizza and ends with pizza. It was sometime around August 2014, I believe, when I started filling in one day a week at Green Apple Books on the Park. How many nights in those distant years spent at the Shamrock or in the park or riding the outbound 7 (then the 71) home, the Sunset pulling me deep into its nocturnal heart? How many books, how much music passed through my hands in those years that rewired my brain and gave me new sight? What pages turned, steps taken, what transfers torn, doors opened.

On certain Friday nights, a pizza (sometimes two) would cross our threshold, warm and kindly nourishment against retail night's cold vacuum. Howard Ryan would stroll through the doors on these evenings with leftover pizza from Arizmendi Bakery, a veritable steward of his Inner Sunset community, cool and enigmatic and approachable, headphones around his neck, always ready to discuss a book or album of excitement.

This very same Howard Ryan is the mind behind one of SF's most exciting noise projects, Hauras. To say that Hauras reminds me of Deathprod or Sunn O))) or Stars of the Lid is to try to define a border around formlessness. But each Hauras release is entirely individuated from both its counterreleases as well as any other music in recent memory.

I don't know why Hauras makes me think of knives. Perhaps the connection to kitchens, in which I spent nearly a decade before transitioning into bookselling, perhaps, too, the sometimes smooth, sometimes serrated shine of the strings and keys that illuminate Hauras' landscapes conjures something metallic and flashing in my mind.

Amidst the drone and the scratch, there is an openness, a blank canvas onto which the listener is the final instrumentalist, imprinting upon the work their own occulted visions to create a living matrix of sound, an astral projection onto the final master.

Enter pizza again. It’s 2023. I’m back in the bookstore. Howard strolls through the door with big news about the slice of the day--a bewitching alchemy of roasted yellow potatoes with basil sunflower seed pesto or something along those lines--along with a copy of Pervades, his (then) most recent release. On my way home, I stop in for a slice of the best goddamn pizza in the Sunset, Hauras cassette in tow. Both are soon greedily devoured. Both heartbreakingly sublime.

Pervades enters the silent void as a wisp, a filament--branching, veining, assembling circulatory and nervous systems, actual blood, growing a body around itself, turning dark matter to skin. Starpath corpus. Hole-grafted. The celestial golem that slices apart the heavens. The Demogorgon in the Upside-Down. Me on the bus with the album playing in my headphones, the bus traveling down the road, the road traveling across the earth, the earth traveling across the cosmos. It's this layered admixture that makes Pervades an animated being--to listen to it from beginning to end is to emerge from primordial sleep into waking. True evocation magick. New time.

And so back to kitchens, pizza, communities. A slice of pizza on a cold and lonely evening. Strands articulated from static and silence. The ordinary and the astonishing. Miraculous intrusions of joy and sustenance. The next good thing. Emanations from beyond and the beyond is here. Ultimately, a gift to witness and to exist.

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