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Published: 2010/11/22
by Ron Hart

Gonjasufi
The Caliph's Tea Party
Warp

Somewhere between HR and HR Pufnstuff is Gonjasufi, a post-hip-hop madman from the Mojave Desert whose Warp Records debut, A Sufi and a Killer, is a hazy daydream of psychedelic breakbeat soul that will undoubtedly land atop many best of lists in 2010 worth their merit. But when you have a crack production team comprised of Flying Lotus, The Gaslamp Killer and Mainframe behind the boards from the outset, is the need for a remix album truly necessary?

In regards to The Caliph’s Tea Party, that really all depends on who is at the controls. There are some versions here that utilize Gonja’s croaky croon as another instrument to bend, pitch and manipulate as a means of completely reimagining their assigned tracks as virtually unrecognizable in comparison to the originals, such as Broadcast and the Focus Group’s collagist deconstruction of “DedNd,” Bibio’s otherworldly expounding of obscure 80s R&B on “Candylane” and Oneohtrix Point Never’s subversive folk-hop dismantling of “She’s Gone.” Such moments of heady inventiveness with A Sufi and a Killer’s source material, however, are counterbalanced by ho-hum rehashes geared towards the trendier end of Gonjasufi’s fanbase, as Bear in Heaven’s hipster club tooling of “Love of Reign” and Dem Mantle’s dubstep spin on “Ageing” seem out of place here when brushing up against more challenging remixes as Mark Pritchard’s prog-goth aural breakdown of the Flying Lotus-blessed “Ancestors” and Jeremiah Jae’s freaky broken beat rework of “Kobwebz.”

The Caliph’s Tea Party certainly harbors its value as a formidable placeholder until the next Gonjasufi LP emerges from the arid landscape of its principle author, but barely registers the same amount of vitality as a listening experience than that of the album from which it spawned.

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