Exclaim! - - REVIEWS -


Wel­come to Cal­lus, a bar­ren land of cut­throat hon­esty and omi­nous ter­rain. Gonjasufi’s lat­est is an al­bum of pain and suf­fer­ing, blind­ing like the sun and scorched like the desert. Per­haps it’s be­cause it was recorded be­tween Gonjasufi’s home in the Cal­i­for­nia bad­lands and the even less for­giv­ing, sin-rid­den land of Las Vegas, or maybe it was the time lead­ing up to the al­bum’s four-year record­ing process that in­spired its arid na­ture as much as the lo­ca­tions in which it was recorded. Af­ter be­ing al­legedly swin­dled by PR com­pany Elas­tic on his Euro­pean tour a few years ago, Gonjasufi re­turned home broke, dis­traught and un­der­stand­ably fum­ing at his prospects. He felt aban­doned by the mu­sic in­dus­try, and so he set to work in his base­ment, on tat­tered equip­ment, to be­gin heal­ing his own wounds, cre­at­ing his own cal­lus. With a voice that’s some­where be­tween Tom Waits, a prophet of doom and a bucket of rusty nails, Gonjasufi pours his soul into Cal­lus’s 19 tracks. Be­tween the muted drawl of opener “Your Maker” and the twisted nurs­ery rhyme of clos­ing track “Last Night­mare” lies some of the most tor­tured mu­sic to ever en­ter Warp Records’ vaults, not to men­tion Gonjasufi’s. The clos­est thing to up­beat on the record, and coin­ci­den­tally one of its best tracks, is “Prints of Sin,” which sounds al­most like mid-’90s Beck if he’d been beaten to a pulp and robbed of his liveli­hood. A num­ber of tracks here also fea­ture the Cure gui­tarist Pearl Thomp­son, who adds an apoc­a­lyp­tic layer on top of what’s al­ready a stark slab of woe. Cal­lus is a har­row­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, not for the faint of heart. It’s more of a preach than a rap, at times more post-rock than hip-hop, the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing akin to hear­ing slam po­etry at knife­point. This is Gonjasufi shin­ing a light on the dark­ness: in the world, mu­sic and ul­ti­mately, in him­self. (Warp, warp.net) DARYL KEAT­ING

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