Sound — 9
Describing Gonjasufi's music is a hard task, given he manages to sound like so many different, contrasting artists. He incorporates elements of jazz, funk, RnB, rap and soul, combining them and schizophrenically drifting between them on A Sufi and a Killer's 19 tracks. Gonjasufi, or Sumach Ecks, has been releasing music since the ninties, alone and with acts such as Masters of the Universe. His collaboration with Flying Lotus got him noticed by Warp, to whom he is signed. Gonjasufi's album is one of 2010's most diverse works. His distinctive voice never feels out of place on any of the diverse tracks. There must have been a temptation to go with the recent trend of lo-fi acts, such as How To Dress Well, but the production is very sharp and is rarely overdone.
Lyrics — 10
Ecks' voice is the most distinctive part of the record. He attributes its rough, yet non-abrasive croak to his day job as a yoga teacher. Even when singing softly or rapping, one can hear the underlying rasp, which is reminiscent of Leadbelly or, more recently, Tyler The Creator. The lyrics meld seamlessly with the music, usually complimenting the chilled out relaxed vibe. Similar to The Avalanches, quite often the vocals are not the focal point of the song and are sometimes used as part of the instrumentation, or percussively, something rarely done in modern music.
Overall Impression — 9
Throwing labels at Gonjasufi will do him no favours. He has been referred to as left-field, jazz and funk, but none of these terms does justice to the vast array of styles spanned on this album. This album is multi-faceted but can still be listened to casually, behind all the tape hiss and samples, it is clear that there is a song with chords and melodies. Although the combination of styles is dizzying in its complexity, Gonjasufi does not often stray from the beaten track. He is not really bringing anything original to the table, but combining elements of distant genres. It could be argued that this in itself is original, but avid music fans will recognise the linear song structures and the tricks (although executed masterfully) used in this record. A Sufi and a Killer has to be up there with 2010's unsung work. It may not have something for everyone, but certainly has an exceptionally wide appeal.