A sort of Lee “Scratch” Perry for the indie-rap generation, Gonjasufi offers a mix of smoky spiritualism and rough-cut auteurism. The dreadlocked Sufi Muslim and Bikram yogi signed to Warp on the strength of his associations with L.A.’s still-bubbling electronic scene, but with MU.ZZ.LE, he strikes out on his own, relocating to the Mojave Desert and recording without the help of his go-to producers, Flying Lotus and The Gaslamp Killer. For fans, the change will be immediately evident. While 2010’s A Sufi And A Killer laid out a series of dank and dubby tracks for the shaman to chant, croak, and coo over, his presence is an intrinsic thread in the fabric here, at times almost indistinguishable from the reverbed guitar jags, dusty keys, and buzzing atmosphere.
It’s an odd tapestry—bunched in parts, thin in others, thoroughly moth-bitten—but listening as these 10 post-modern blues meditations drift in and out of focus is like curling up under a warm blanket while grandpa tells cockeyed stories. His ruminations on humility—“Children walk on both legs / While man still learn to crawl”—are full of charisma and character. The hallucinatory textures and samples of his kid laughing on “Nikels And Dimes” are hypnotic. The grimy swagger of “Blaksuit” is magnetic (and owing no small debt to the vintage backpack beats of underground legends Odd Nosdam and Jel). The only strikes against the moody and soulful MU.ZZ.LE are its length, a curt 24 minutes, and the fact that outside of headphones, the LP’s emanations tend to get lost in a room. But then again, maybe the whole point is to get lost in the ether.