Album Review

Megan Eidelbach

Something different, something strange.

To say that Gonjasufi's March 10 release “A Sufi and A Killer” is unique would be an understatement. The pounding of the psychedelic background music to the compelling hip-hop and simply stated lyrics on this debut album shows an originality that simply cannot be ignored.

The album is produced by Los Angeles' Flying Lotus, The Gaslamp Killer, and Mainframe, and brings Eastern chants and rock guitar, technological and hip-hop beats, psychedelic sounds, and strangely absolving lyrics into a combination of songs that is not only original, but shocking at the same time. Sumach Ecks' vocals in a one hour run on this album go from a syrupy voice, to rendering his listeners seduced, shocked, confused, unnerved, and, well, to be quite honest, pretty tripped out.

On “She Gone”, he pulls his best Tom Waits. The next track, “Kowboyz and Indians,” is a strange nonsensical beating of music and chanting that leaves the listener wondering and trying to make sense of the song, yet asking for more.

On “Suzie Q” it sounds almost as if he has decided to take on an old school punk remake and warp it into his own... perhaps an Iggy Pop tune that we all know so well?

On “Sheep” he makes the curious lyrics of “ I wish I was a sheep/ Instead of a lion/ So then I wouldn't have to eat/ Animals that are dying” … which evokes connotations of a vegan or a vegetarian mentality... an interesting way of looking at things from nature's point of view.

My favorite points of this album are definitely Ecks' lyrics, the chanting that echoes in the background, and the mysticism that seems to surround his character like a strange, ethereal cloud. He seems to elude the simple labeling that most people have- either you are a rap or a rock artist, for example in most cases. Ecks definitely does not fit into any certain niche. Instead he fills them all like a child's first toy of fitting shapes into their right space in a plastic ball.

“Holidays” was a nice surprise. It was more somber, still a bit trippy, but clear, speaking of “these lonely holidays”- “to pick up those times I 've thrown away- when will these feelings go away-these holidays...” And you can almost hear and taste the tears in his voice. Sad, embittered, depressed lyrics with the slightly upbeat rhythm in the background music completed that song for me so well that it had me nearly in tears yet almost dancing at the same time. (Or, swaying, rather..I don't quite cry much when I'm dancing quickly.)

I would recommend this album to anyone ready for a new experience who likes psychedelia, hip-hop, a little rock, a little melancholia, Eastern mythology even... something different, something strange.

After all, isn't it almost always time for a change?