Local Bands We Love: Gonjasufi

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by KCRW DJ Mario Cotto:

Although Gonjasufi is not necessarily “local” per se (he originally got started in the rap game in San Diego and currently lives in Las Vegas) his sound, co-produced by local heroes Mainframe, Gaslamp Killer, & Flying Lotus is, by proxy, pure Los Angeles.

Gonjasufi’s sound at times is the vibe of Jim Morrison’s haunted “city at night,” and at other times it’s the vibe of too much spiked punch at a sun-baked cook-out on Dre Day. Other times, like on the Flying Lotus-produced “Ancestors,” Sufi sounds like he’s left Los Angeles altogether and is traveling through space in one of those bubbles in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Fountain.”

The album (whose cover frames Sufi like the Zig-Zag Man, like Dre on “The Chronic”) is made up of lush beats that brilliantly sprawl across genres and eras with echoes of ‘60s psychedelia and ‘70s disco funk and distorted world music. But the key ingredient is Sufi’s voice. He at times sounds like Horace Andy, Captain Beefheart, or ODB…sometimes all in the same song…sometimes all at once…it’s a remarkably compelling listen. Sometimes it’s sad, dark and scary, sometimes bright, surreal, and funny — just like Los Angeles. Or one of those time-traveling space bubbles.

“A Sufi & A Killer” drops on March 9th on Warp and the release party is at the Echoplex on March 15th.