Monday, May 31, 2010
Recently Pitchfork has been singing SP's praises, naming Hottabatch their favourite new song.
Then they delivered an interview with Lazaro, which was even nicer.
But then they showed their true colours and published an admiring but strikingly ignorant review of the albums. When I first read it I thought oh I've been away from 'trendy' sites like this for too long and this is some kind of ironical new way of writing that appears limitlessly simplistic and superficial. Nope. "No intelligent life here..."
On the upside, I then found a critique of the review in question by a writer whose blog is dedicated to reviews of Pitchfork reviews (seriously), and who has a low toleranace level for braindead writing. He doesn't appear to know SP's music or even to have heard them so imagine how much stronger his criticisms would be were he a fan. Over to him:
"2. that review is better than the Shabazz Palaces review, which could not give you any less of a sense of how these records sound or what they’re about. for reasons i’m about to get into this review garners my rare and uncoveted Worst New Review!!! read it now if you haven’t yet.
the syntax is so stilted it’s uncomfortable, reads like an 11th-grader wrote it for a high school newspaper. like the only mention of lyrics is this: “Lazaro occasionally spits conscious verses about struggling and corruption, but he’s also not afraid to go all hardhead and talk tough. His lyrical subjects can be quotidian, frequently focusing on food and hanging out.” i’m not gonna address the meaningless-without-context, generic rap-oriented word choice in “not afraid to go all hardhead and talk tough”, but two records packed with raps and that’s all the preview we get? no quotes? are there any rhymes worthy of mention on this?
this sentence is retarded and is worst sentence in the whole review: “It’s clear that he wants his art to be taken seriously, and based on his output so far it certainly will.” who doesn’t want their art to be taken seriously? “Weird” Al Yankovic, David Hasslehoff? what the fuck kind of sentence is this? this is the 11th graderese i was talking about
and why is fitzmaurice insisting on refusing to let Palaceer Shabazz present himself the way he wants to? and NOT calling him by the name he’s asking to be called by? “Hopefully, Palaceer Lazaro— oh, fuck it, call him Ishmael” — nobody but Rick Ross still calls Diddy “Puff Daddy” and we certainly don’t call MF Doom “Zev Love X” so why be an asshole to this guy?
and then in the last paragraph, “reemergence doesn’t always guarantee eternal success, as Doom’s ever-unspooling narrative shows.” bro do you read pitchfork reviews or listen to Doom? you know his last full-length (from last year) got an 8.0? and his last EP (from this year) got a 7.2 (which is real high for any EP that’s not by animal collective)? how is DOOM unspooling? he’s been active and consistently putting out quality reords for years, i’d say he’s been among the MOST CONSISTENT presences in rap, given the volatility in the quality of work of even the highest-tier rappers. did any editors look at this review? man step your games up, it’s never too late in the day to shift this review down to the number 5 slot, or, like, replace it with whatever Tom Breihan has to say about the record
i never go in on a review like this but fuck this review"
-From Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
Sunday, May 23, 2010
As far as I know this is the only available video of an original (90s) performance of 9th Wonder on the web. The players in the band are ridiculous: major league pros. Also, the clip ends with a rendition of the 9th Wonder Amina/Dania remix which was only available on the rare 9th Wonder: Mad Slicker Remixes single. Both versions sound much more interesting compared to the recorded versions.
Digable Planets - 9th Wonder & 9th Wonder remix (live on the Jon Stewart show, 1994)
Digable Planets - 9th Wonder & 9th Wonder remix (live on the Jon Stewart show, 1994)
Monday, May 17, 2010
I got my tickets for the London show on April 22nd a while ago. The day before Ish wrote me saying he put me on the guestlist +3 and asked if I could bring some newspapers in Arabic (!??) No problems of course all the tickets were put to good use and I brought my fiance, her friend, and my bros from London town (breakspears boys). We met the man himself in the venue about an hour before they went on stage. Just like in 2005, the legendary force behind some of the freshest music ever made was as affable, real, and charismatic as can be. We chatted for a while, can't remember it all but I did ask about his interest in learning Arabic. Butterfly responded with some feelings and sentiments hard to quote literally but I got the impression he had been blessed with apprehension of the role of the language as a means of transport. I asked whether his old album Ishmael Since 1999 would ever come out. Not only did he not have any copies of the songs any more but he also didn't know any one who had the album and asked if I knew anyone who did! He then confirmed another 'fear' of mine... a 2nd Cherrywine album had indeed been completed c.2005 and Ish similarly just let that recede into the past once Shabazz Palaces began to emerge. 'I've always been happy to just work on something and then let it go' is how he explained his admittedly healthy artistic attitude. Meanwhile us fans can only dream of unknown aural landscapes off-limits for the time being at least. He also mentioned how the tour van was broken into in Brussels and his laptop was stolen. That was a big shame since he had planned to perform SP songs on this tour. Tendai was supposed to come too but couldn't get his passport in time. We asked how he was enjoying London and he responded by expressing his like of the city: I missed him earlier in the day because he'd been out and managed to cover both the Tate Britain and the Tate Modern museums where he checked the exhibition by one of his favourite artists, Chris Ofili. My lady and I gave him a Yemeni mantle; it elated us to see him enrobed in it in his Norway MTV interview which is on vimeo (not really worth watching though... impressive how consistently, brilliantly mediocre MTV remains).
He dropped some hot crumbs of news about SP though: The next 2 albums are going to be released with a Shabazz Palaces feature-length film. There's more: it's being done in collaboration with Kahlil Joseph. And more: the man himself will be acting in it. You heard it here first.
It was good to see C-Know the Doodlebug too. He was on top form and full of good vibrations which he transmitted to the sold out crowd at the Jazz Cafe. I asked him if we'd ever hear some unreleased Digable b-sides and he responded that EMI had all the tapes so it was not beyond the limits of possibility. Anyway the show later that night was seismic. I think I heard some new rhymes that others won't hear until the new SP stuff drops. The band were decent, too: they are Cee-know's band and are all solid musicians. The drummer was particularly tasteful, and sounded supreme on 9th Wonder. You can hear the bassist and guitarist's side project here. Ish was on another level of intensity altogether, though. The crowd was feeling it and that seemed to take his performance to another plane. Afterwards, amidst the ruins on the dancefloor as a dazed crowd filtered out into the night the bassist opined that Ish is making the best stuff of his career at the moment. I could but nod, thankful to have witnessed thunder and lightning once again.
Monday, May 10, 2010
A close friend of mine penned this after hearing Shabazz Palaces and agreed to share. Check Yusuf Misdaq's work (poetry, music, fiction writing, and video documentaries) at his website. If any of you readers have some of your art which is inspired by or somehow related to SP, let us know...
This poem is inspired by the Shabazz Palaces project. Another poem likewise inspired by Ishmael Butler appears in Y. Misdaq's upcoming book of poems 'The Beautiful / Palace Prayers'.
Brandished polished pushers
Hexagram gram grammarian man
Motion marvel at the mansion Mercutio
Build and Guild, the Gilded crest waves of next
Flex spine-water-wisdom when it
Curves to freedom
Curving to freedominion dome-dome-delight
Full far away sands see the star-tipped turqoise
Crescent in the eye-sky
Go for green-gallons of the
Ocean, sip down.
Y. Misdaq aka Yoshi, 2010.
My dissertation is due on 31st May and I'm very behind schedule; please excuse the lack of updates. I have much news and links to share, best of all I was blessed to spend some time with Ish during his stop in London touring with Doodlebug. All that to be related later. For now I'll commence sharing some music which listeners of Shabazz Palaces might dig.
Muslimgauze - Mullah Said (Staalplaat, 1998)