Jan. 25 2012 04:55 PM

Unmistakably weird singer / rapper dials back sonic experimentalism

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Ganjasufi
Alex Rapada

Music reviews
Gonjasufi 
MU.ZZ.LE 
(Warp)

In many ways, Gonjasufi's 2010 album A Sufi and a Killer was the most underrated and overrated release of that year. Even with the LP being released on what could be considered a major indie label (the British, mostly electronic-leaning Warp), it didn't get a lot of attention from major outlets outside of Pitchfork. Still, looking back, I don't think I read one blog post that year that wasn't popping a boner over Gonjasufi's mix of psychedelic dirges and lo-fi trip-hop.

Here's my theory: A lot of music bloggers are major stoners. If you smoke weed, you're bound to like Gonjasufi—a rapper, singer and Chula Vista native whose real name is Sumach Ecks—a lot more than you otherwise would. But where Killer really succeeded was in its ability to get even non-tokers to bob their heads (and sometimes scratch it). Like Massive Attack's Blue Lines, DJ Shadow's Endtroducing or the more recent Cosmogramma by Sufi bud Flying Lotus, it was an album whose originality trumped its sometimes-alienating sound.

Now, we have a follow-up in MU.ZZ.LE, a 10-track mini-album that was produced by Sufi and local producer Psychopop. The distorted, trademark voice is still here, but the sonic experimentalism is dialed down a bit. He sounds like Mos Def at his most loose—indeed, “Venom” and “Blaksuit” sound like outtakes from the emcee's 2004 release, The New Danger.

I can see fans of Sufi, who now lives in Las Vegas, embracing just about anything he puts out (the weed helps), but I can't help but feel that Sufi has lost a bit of his edge. Songs like “The Blame” and “Nikels and Dimes” are downright catchy! I know, it's weird that I'm bitching about a song being catchy, but you know what? Give me adventurousness and inaccessibility over retreads and comforting familiarity any day. I may not like it immediately, but I'll at least commend the novelty.


Calendar

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  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28