The Middle Eastern conceit has been frequently used in music to express and encapsulate how foreign a world can be. At times it has been used to turn a great track into a groundbreaker (the Ofra Haza sample on Eric B. and Rakim’s “Paid In Full”) while at other times create an otherworldly sound. San Diego recluse Gonjasufi
clearly has the latter in mind. Over the course of 19 tracks, he conjures the dark magic of Primal Scream’s XTRMNTR and the mixed motifs of Mos Def’s The Ecstatic.
Aided by producers Flying Lotus and Mainframe, Gonjasufi’s mumbled melodies and beds of music continue to shift like sands beneath your feet. One minute you are bobbing to the hip-hop nod of “Ancestors” (whose pinched sitar samples will soon be lifted by countless others), then straining to hear him duet with angelic female voices over plucked guitar and harp strings in “Sheep.” The minute you think you have figured out that the record is a potent Ninja Tune-ish hip-hop/electronic record, Gonjasufi hits you the distorted music hall/garage pop of “She Gone” which features a blistering guttural scream that leads perfectly into the psychedelic grunge of “SuzieQ.”
Beyond that “A Sufi and A Killer” has 12 more songs to go. If this sounds like an intoxicating journey, take the first step with “Ancestors.”
♫ Gonjasufi – Ancestors from A Sufi and A Killer