Gonjasufi – Callus: ‘America needs to hear this fucking record’


While 90 per cent of the internet lost their shit over the weekend to the new Frank Ocean things, another release was also howling from a different corner in black & white.

Gonjasufi has just released his third album Callus — and with a crucifixion scene on the sleeve, and tracks titles like The Kill, Prints of Sin and Your Maker, you’d think industrial metal act Godflesh had dropped a companion piece to Streetcleaner.

The music on Callus is also a few degrees of separation from his previous albums of sandblasted hip-hop, woozy psychedelia and Sufi mysticism.

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There’s no industrial metal on Callus — beyond the nervy oil drum percussion on some tracks — but it’s his darkest release yet. In an interview with The Quietus this week, Californian Gonjasufi aka Sumach Ecks said the album was threaded together with all the “pain and suffering” he’s gone through in his life. He also added: “America needs to hear this fucking record.”

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On his 2010 debut album A Sufi and a Killer, Ecks paired with producers The Gaslamp Killer, Flying Lotus and Mainframe, and went solo on his 2012 follow-up MU.ZZ.LE, burying the broken beats and samples under frazzled electronics and lo-fi hiss.

He’s not using samples this time — playing guitar, keys and drums, but there’s nothing conventional on Callus, which veers between muck-splattered Stooges-style riffs to cavernous drones and Sabbath sludge and the outer limits of Anticon-style hip-hop, with his strained voice that can turn from brittle, croaky falsetto to Tom Waits badass in a split second.

Vinaigrette is a brief respite in the middle of the album. It’s all relative so it’s hardly jaunty pop we’re talking about here. Instead, it’s a velvety slice of gothic rock with the album’s only straight 4/4 mid-tempo beat, all held together with a droney synth and some deep house-style glints. It sounds like a TV On the Radio deep cut, with an Iggy Pop swagger. And the monochrome video is the perfect complement — a road movie clip with more than a few shades of David Lynch or Sin City.

He’s right — America needs to hear that fucking record, and the rest of us while we’re at it. It’s out now on Warp Records.

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