Boomkat Product Review:
Warp’s hirsute wax hunter, psychedelic shaman and mystic wildman turns up the distortion on his 3rd album, arriving four years since MU.ZZ.LE and cramming 19 salty, sawn-off songs more related to outsider garage rock and psych-pop one-offs than the California hip hop scene whence he came.
Callus is best considered as a weather-beaten reaction to life’s travails, built up from coarse-textured samples and his signature, croaking vocals which are further soused in lacquer-cracking levels of distortion, future-proofing himself and his sound for the times.
In the best tradition of any psychedelic storyteller, the album is a sprawling, rambling thing, employing a wide palette of sources and sonic figures to unwind a yarn about psychic torment and life on the road absorbing all the realities and surrealities it may chuck up.
It’s prone to skinny changes of pace and varying bouts of manic depression, matching “ups” like the motorik raga of Krishna Punk with sore, cranky downs such as Old Man Sufferah, while also strafing a legacy of hurt and passion that’s present in much of the music he samples from, whether its blues, punk, Ethiopiques jazz or psychedelic folk.
Callus is an accretion of all these things, and more, proudly displayed as battle scars and signs of vulnerability as strength.