I hate writing about people I know nothing about. Perhaps it's because it forces me to focus solely on the music. Gonjasufi's debut album A Sufi and A Killer solves that problem by being across the board the most eclectic album full of disparte sounds I've ever heard. It's heavy, melodic, soulful and moody just at the surface. Digging deeper will only make you sink further into the maze of musical styles prevalent here.
Gonjasufi is a dreaded man and sings hauntingly poetic verses over LA beat scene canvases that sound as though they were made specifically for the man to make his own. The album opens with a recording of chanting, while the title references an acient Indian dancing tradition. "Ancestors" was the first song to leak from the project and it's a great choice as it's one of the most straight forward and melodic songs on the album. Over a chopped guitar and piano sample along with gritty and stuttering drums Gonjasufi sings about those that came before us.
The lyrics throughout this album are always worth paying special attention to. Sufi has a delicate voice that seems to dance on top of the music perfectly. This gives extra weight to his words and draws you into what he is saying. His topics are spiritual, philosophical, and life like. Sometimes the music and studio effects are utilized to great effect on the words, adding an additional element to the already sonically forward thinking album.
The album plays like and audio mind fuck. The music is spectacular. As many instruments as you can name can probably found on at least one track here. Vocals are layered and chopped as are sounds of distortions. Samples are prevalent on some tracks. Static is on more. His voice at times screams, at times harmonizes and always delivers a message. He has an impressive range and isn't afraid to push his limits. With a lesser talent that can be devestating but Gonjasufi is not new to this, I bet he has spent his whole life developing his craft giving his voice a warmth that conveys a peacefulness and calm.
Sometimes it's too much though as witnessed on "Holidays." Over a stuttering but repetative and slighlty boring keyboard beat he belts out some great lyrics but his high notes conflict with the synths to a cringe worhty effect on the ear. Not all is lost, the following track is more of his spoken word style delivery behind a coat of dust and a looped drum break.
Dabbaling in more sounds than any one person should ever include on one project was a huge risk that pays off quite well for Gonjasufi. While he misses on a few attempts here and there overall this projet is more proof that the Low End Theory beat scene in LA can spawn vocalists to take their tracks to the next level. With cat's like NoCanDo and Gonjasufi hearing the future and writing to sounds we aren't accustomed to they are developing and furthuring a sound that has been brewing. I welcome it with open arms. I wish more artists would.
Check out a few songs from the album and support it on March 9th!