A terrific, trippy adventure with something for every curious pop fan.
Chris Parkin 2010-03-09
With a sonic sprawl that’s just as epic and compelling as his back story, there’s an undeniable parallel between the real, oxygen-breathing world inhabited by Warp’s latest maverick, Sumach Ecks, and the imaginary one he explores in his music. On Planet Earth he’s a reformed drug addict turned yoga teacher; a student of spirituality who flits between the badlands of the Mojave Desert and LA with his family. On record, he’s just as open-minded.
Ecks is a freewheeling nomad who wanders wherever his creative impulse takes him – and A Sufi and a Killer sees him travelling further and wider than most. It’s a stunning, genre-transcending record that should appeal as much to fans of the esoteric, fuzzbox-psychedelia unearthed by Andy Votel and the Finders Keepers label (especially on his DedNd) as it will those fond of dubstep, the spliff-frazzled paranoia of trip hop, J Dilla’s vision of cerebral, emotionally rich hip hop, the head-in-the-clouds acid folk of Marc Bolan’s Tyrannosaurus Rex and dust-blown, voodoo-tweaked blues. And that’s just for starters.
Given the number of times Ecks has been called a 21st century mystic, thanks in part to mumbled-cum-rapped lyrics like “This is your only life so it’s only right to take your own advice...” (Advice), we’ve been given the impression that A Sufi and a Killer is almost shamanistic – a primal scream into the ether. That’s just too simplistic. What it is: a terrific, trippy adventure that sees Ecks (armed with shiny new tools and beats) travelling the same freaky-deaky space that another desert-dwelling weirdo, John Fahey, arpeggio-d and raga-d through all those years ago – a ghostly, moody, wyrd cosmos with an ever-changing landscape.
From the bizarre Bollywood collision of Kowboyz&Indians and the Middle Eastern Morricone-like march of I’ve Given, to Holidays, on which Ecks sounds like Pharrell just released from the loony bin, the underwater digi-funk of Candylane and the howling Suzie Q, there’s something for every curious pop fan in these 19 tracks. That Brainfeeder producers Flying Lotus and The Gaslamp Killer are involved, alongside LA beat masters Mainframe and AJDM, only adds to the appeal of this alluring and mystifying character.