Gonjasufi’s third album in three years is another lo-fi classic
Sumach Ecks AKA Gonjasufi first appeared on the scene seven years with the single Holidays/Candylane. Since then he’s released two genre defining albums, a slew of singles and a remix album. Now Ecks is about to release his third album CALLUS, and as A Sufi and A Killer and MU.ZZ.LE showcased it contains the contents of his psyche DJ box.
‘Your Maker’ starts off with Malcom Catto-esque drums, but slowed down and echoed up, plus a bassline that Krist Novoselic would be proud of. Then the star of the show appears. Ecks half drawl/half spoken vocals. Even after a few listens its hard to work out what he’s on about, but that doesn’t really matter as the music and his delivery tell us everything we need to know. He sounds like he’s hurt and in pain, but the worst of it is over. Whatever caused the pain has past and all he needs to do now it wait for the wounds, internal/external, to heal. We’ve all been there, and sadly will be there again. ‘Afrikan Spaceship’ is a three minute glitch work out. It’s hard to get a grip on it to begin with as the beats are machine gun fast and cut up like the William Burroughs novel. The bassline is so hidden under all this you don’t even notice it on a first listen. Then a maelstrom of synth starts to whip up a third of the way through that engulfs everything. Again the lyrics are laconic and elliptical. The final third of the track is a disjointed guitar solo that after a first listen feels like an after-thought, but after a few listens, and checking out the titles feels like a Sun Ra riff form 1967 that was discarded/unused until Ecks got his hands on it!
New double A-Side single ‘The Kill’/’Prints of Sin’ is a slow burner filled with searing guitar solos, luscious string sections, ad-hoc electronics, tight drum loops and Ecks trademark distorted stream of consciousness vocals. Both songs book end each other perfectly. The Kill opens with angry drums and soothing synths, until Ecks starts to deliver poignant lyrics after poignant lyrics. As The Kill progresses it gets slower and more abstract until it segues in to Prints of Sin. Kicking off with a bubble of electronics and following with this blueprint until its warped outro. Both songs complement each other perfectly showcase Ecks eclectic personality.
‘Krishna Punk’ is the song that sums up Ecks past, present and future perfectly. The title alone screams this. 8-Bit beats and vocals that boarder on guttural whines and moans make up the songs mains elements. As Ecks bemoans multinational corporations the music crashes down around him, much like his thoughts on big business. This is as concise as CALLUS gets and it’s a total banger too! ‘Poltergeist’ is the most jarring and haunting track on the album. The opening strings feel like nails being dragged down a chalk board, and when the faux-Witch House kicks in everything takes on a macabre vibe. “Keep holding on” Ecks croons over melancholic keyboards and guitars. The suddenly everything swells up and sounds like an epic nightmare featuring characters from AKIRA or Stranger Things. ‘When I Die’ is Ecks take on Joy Division. Bassing throbbing bass riffs, claustrophobic keyboards and an underlying feeling of unease. ‘Last Nightmare’ closes the album as it started, which the sound of a man going through the wringer, making it to the other-side and telling you about how to survive it when it’s your turn.
CALLUS was written and recorded over a four year period. In a nutshell it is a raw Punk-Hop album. Throughout its fifty minute duration Ecks creates music that is so lo-fi you can see the glue holding the samples together and with a vocal delivery that boarders on primal scream therapy. These themes, and production, make it Ecks’ most honest and purifying album to date. It goes to show that even when you are angry and hurt you can turn that to create something positive and beautiful.
Callus is out now on Warp Records