Monday, June 7, 2010

Essay from Sound on the Sound

Dear readers,

I present you with the first lengthy rumination on SP I've come across, hopefully the first of many. I agree with everything that Sound on the Sound's Josh writes, although I would say he over-emphasises SP's 'anti-System' stance, giving the impression of it being somewhat laboured and reactionary. I prefer to view them as simply being who they are, making the music they want to make, and only incidentally slaying all these false gods. He writes,

"Cognizant that rap has lost its way, Shabazz Palaces seem to have surfaced especially to remind us, and particularly those within the hip hop community itself, that the future isn’t buying pre-made beats to rhyme over between sips of cough syrup."

It's beautiful that people feel that SP has surfaced to remind the pop rap circus, but I doubt the musicians themselves think of it like that, or even particularly care for the pop side. Rather, an artist makes music simply because he can't help but do it, and an artist (particularly a poet, historically) also presents society with truth messages in a uniquely devastating way, but not as part of an overly-conscious plan. So SP does achieve all the things the article says they achieve, but that's just how they do their thing:

With style.

Q: But your position is no stronger, and suggests that the music is not the result of labour, vision, and calculation but merely a happy by-product of intuition.
A: Yes, that is the weakness of my argument. Of course it's all conceived, planned and every beat and word is there for a reason. But if it's 'calculation' then it's a kind of 'instinctive calculation'. Ultimately that's someting personal to each artist, and not being a very artistic person myself I would like to hear what poetic people themselves have to say about this aspect of the creative process.

(Photograph by Renee McMahon)

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