nothing i love more than a re-invention. shabazz palaces, the new(er) project from ishmael “butterfly” butler of the jazz-hiphop crew digable planets is reinvention in the form of regression. rather than turn chart-topper, butler chose to strip his craft to the roots and return to the music biz with a few head-scratching, atmospheric ep’s. he followed those recordings with black up, a record that is a wild and unpredictable space jam.
butterfly’s stream-of-consciousness flow might seem confusing, but it ends up falling into place like a tightly designed puzzle, tucked snugly into place beside grimy, fascinating beats. shabazz palaces have a clever take on minimalist sound. there are times when songs sound lazy or basic, impossible since they are layered with textures and effects. jazzy percussion that’s been run through a food processor. a dance party in the belly of a packed roor. it’s not your everyday accessible sound, and that’s exactly what shabazz palaces shoot for.
for a while the project was cloaked with mystery and questions, the only known member being butler. this summer’s live performances revealed percussionist tendai maraire and vocalists and labelmates THESatisfaction joining the palaces ranks. if you have the time to buy into a left of the dial record that will take you in a different direction each time you play it, give black up a shot. it’s streaming on youtube and it’s available on itunes. download. plug in. zone out.