Gruizige lofi indie Hiphop met een twist. De debuut plaat van Gonjasufi "A Sufi And A Killer!" met productiewerk van The Gaslamp Killer, Mainframe, en een snufje Flying Lotus. Destijds DE plaat van het jaar in jaarlijsten van vele muziekliefhebbers. De nieuwe plaat met medewerking van de gitarist van The Cure is ook echt geniaal! Zeker niet makkelijk in het gehoor liggend maar als het kwartje valt dan blijf hij plakken.
Ever since A Sufi and a Killer sent his scarred wail out into a wider world, Gonjasufi’s future has seemed pretty open-ended. What path would his hip-hop-influenced psych take? Subsequent releases—especially 2012’s MU.ZZ.LE—veered closer to a series of confrontational wake-up calls than the inner voyage of the mind than “psychedelia” typically suggests. Jay Z’s “Nickels and Dimes” might have lifted the hook from the Gonjasufi cut of the (almost) same name, but its mournfully introspective spirit was something too bare-nerved to co-opt, the catharsis of MU.ZZ.LE pared it down to just the “psych-” and laid bare just how many far more unsettling things could be attached to it as a suffix.
Callus is deliberately abrasive proof of this: an album that’s disorienting at its catchiest, harrowing at its ugliest, and more than willing to run both of those modes at the same time. Gonjasufi’s described this album as a document of his effort to embrace hate and pain, not out of nihilism or defeatism but as a way to endure what he sees as a surplus of the stuff getting dumped on everybody’s heads so he can return it as love. The album title says as much—it literally suggests growing a thicker skin—and the record’s mode feels like a much-needed endurance test in turn. It’s harsh and raucous and even oppressive, despite the fact that it ventures only rarely (and briefly) into uptempo trad-aggro turf. It’s both a call for confrontation and a search of positivity.
And there’s more “we” than “I” in that confrontation. Gonjasufi’s lyrics feel more than ever like they’re sung in his characteristic wobbly, mutating wail because that piercing tone is the best way to reach out to people. Entreaties like “Is anyone else tired/From working on a slave ship?” (from opening cut “Your Maker”), declarations that “Babylon hates me/And they want me killed” (“The Kill”), and demands to “Forget your story and fake glory/Get your devils off of me” (“The Conspiracy”) are the words of someone reckoning with his fears and traumas in public to feel less alone. “Everything’s fucked” isn’t exactly a rare sentiment this year, though, and some stress is better empathized with when it’s felt rather than spoken, so he’s still riding on a tendency to show-not-tell his through tone. There’s a lot of distortion and overblown, in-the-red bass smothering the clarity of his words—even as it boosts the intensity of the voice delivering them. (The way his breathless, fuzz-drenched repetition of “stay out” melts into a caustically dissolving analog synth is borderline horrifying.)
The mood of Callus comes off as embattled and mercurial as the mindstate of anyone trying to get their shit together and find a way through. And the music, filled with reverb and fuzz and gristle and the smell of ozone, demands both your attention and your resilience. Some fuss has been made about the appearance of former Cure guitarist Pearl Thompson, who shows up a few times (heard best on “The Kill”) to grind out some fuzz-toned squalls of noise. But it’s all of a piece, with the Special Guest Star moments subsumed into a bigger wall of noise. There’s King Tubby dub bleeps echoing into the distance (“Your Maker”), lo-fi guitar sludge lodged somewhere between Neu!’s “Super 16” and the murkier reaches of early Sub Pop (“Maniac Depressant”), industrial machine-gun synth-drums (“Afrikan Spaceship”), EWF kalimbas swamped by doom-metal bass/organ churns (“The Jinx”), and a bonafide modern-day goth dancefloor filler (“Vinaigrette”). The atmosphere might get oppressive, but it never feels stuck. Besides handily proving that it’s a fairly straight line from Gaslamp Killer-style acid-funk crate-digging to the grimier pages in Adrian Sherwood’s portfolio, Callus is also a healthy reminder that it takes some strikingly noisy stuff to actually hold up against his voice. Get used to it; even when it sandpapers your ears, it just makes the path to your mind that much clearer.
Presented by: Willemeen & Luxor Night Live