Friday, December 3, 2010

Gonjasufi: A Sufi and a Killer (2010)


(Warp)

Coming from the same branch of abrasive grab bag jazz-electronica as Flying Lotus, this seems to warrant prediction as an automatic dismissal for me; I've gone on record here decrying my resistance to this evolution of techno, a genre once very dear to me. If anything, A Sufi and a Killer drives the point home; sampling various tracks, I came away bitterly annoyed and shellshocked. Taken as a whole, the album undeniably reveals ample talent, but it's so much to take in -- so confusing, so otherworldly and overwhelming -- that only those with a major investment in the new will probably warm to it.

The rest of us will frequently be tempted to turn the racket off; Sumach Ecks bellows and snarls over tracks that vary from dreamy transcendence to repetitive cacophony, leaning heavily on the latter. The heavy use of limiting and compression, as well as the kitchen-sink sonics, seem designed to drive the unimaginative wimps out of the room. Even the wimps, though, will grudgingly admit that there's more to this than confrontation. Ecks uses texture and freeform structure masterfully, and if nothing else, this is marvelously expressive music. If it sends you out of the room, it at least deserves your respect. And maybe we'll all come around eventually. It's more likely that Gonjasufi is ahead of us than that he's simply aloof.

Some of the guttural screaming and stabbing synth hitting is still a bit much for me. But that's my own problem, and it's my job now to learn how to catch up.

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