Saturday, 26 July 2014

Shabazz Palaces : Lese Majesty

Earlier today i sat and listened to the second album from Shabazz Palaces 'Lese Majesty' on my headphones and it wasn't in the background, it wasn't the secondary thing holding my attention, it was the main focus of my attention because it demanded it.

This album should be the defining album of the genre this year, but in reality it barely clings on to the roots of rap and hip hop such is it's flirtation with the experimental. The Seattle duo of Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire  journey to the centre of the earth and back again, finding exotic and weird things on the way.

Focus track 'They Come In Gold' is a fine case in point, with chanted lyrics over oily drums and an corkscrew r&b sample -  because the production rarely sits still, it seems constantly fluid.  The former Digible Planets frontman takes things to the brink and time and again, during which time the narrative seems to consist of squawked lyrics, sometimes barely audible, chanting and short repeated mantras.

As they put it themselves the album is "a series of astral suites, recorded happenings" . And at 18 tracks, this is an ambitious soundtrack which more than stakes a claim as the 8th wonder of hip hop.

Hip Hop just got some new science fiction heroes.

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