By Sara Elhassan (@bsonblast)
On March 2, 2017, Sudanese producer Sufyvn surreptitiously released his latest beattape, Ascension. The 5-track EP floated its way across the interwebs to reach me a full 4 days later, in the form of a screenshot tweeted by the artist himself - his EP was featured on Bandcamp’s New and Notable section.
After a short, high-pitched squeal of excitement, I scrambled to SoundCloud - where I usually indulge in Sufyvn’s music - but only found one track, ‘Dust’. Before I could panic, a notification went off on my laptop: a Twitter message from Sufyvn sending me a link to the full EP.
Much like the rest of Sufyvn’s work, Ascension is unmistakably Sudanese. You cannot overlook the influence, and yet its Sudaneseness does not alienate. The master producer expertly blends the sound with other styles to produce something that can only be described as ‘apart’. In a nutshell, Ascension exudes Sudaneseness in a way that says, “If you know, you know”.
Dust has an eery quality to it, one that perfectly matches the EP’s cover art (designed by Sufyvn). The track flows smoothly into Whispers, a transition that takes the feeling from eery to calming, until the beat drops and you get pure vibes.
But unlike the transition from Dust, Whispers ends fully to give way to a whole new feeling - and rhythm. Ascension maintains the purity of the track before it, but more upbeat - a delightful mix of Sudanese beat and Asian melody. Rupture further picks up the pace, boasting a faster rhythm and edgier sound, literally speaking. Heavy electronic sounds dominate this track, which only lasts 1 minute and 43 seconds. True to its title, the track disrupts the flow, providing a different vibe to the rest of the EP.
Al Laffa* is the crescendo that brings us back. Its quick tempo and sound is reminiscent of Khartoum public transportation - a well-arranged chorus of beeping Hiace horns (a quintessentially Sudanese experience).
Ascension is a work of art and #SudaneseExcellence, produced in a silence that speaks volumes.
Have a listen and share your favorite tracks (mine are Dust and Whispers). Also, be on the lookout for an Elephant Media interview with the man behind the work, Sufyvn - coming soon!
(*note: Al Laffa is an area in Khartoum and a main transportation station)