Sunday, February 27, 2011

Interview from September 2010

Nice interview and article from a few months ago:

2010 Stranger Music Genius: Shabazz Palaces - by Eric Grandy

the response to the question "when did the SP project begin" is hilarious and telling. a simple: "why?". why do we think we need to know all this stuff? it's because philosophically speaking we're all obedient little followers of 19th century european thinkers who decided that time is linear and in order to understand anything we have to have a historicist approach. the poet, the artist, doesn't buy into that set of restrictions. What difference does it make when the project came together? why check that box along with others so we can feel like you know have some kind of handle on it. it's an impulse i find myself battling in myself frequently. i hear of a recommended book or film and thanks to the internet i'm on google and wikipedia and checking out the author/director etc... why? all the crap i read, well all it's going to do is allow my mind to put stuff into pigeonholes and connect things with other patterns my mind's already trapped in. no. much better to approach things with a fresh mind and being amazed like a child. input, without commentary. now our generation needs to be told what to think of everything. Another good point he makes in the interview is how the marketing machine has gotten us all to expect all these anecdotes about how a record was recorded. Recently someone was telling me about this 'amazing' electronic artist so I listened to it but it was boring and flat. Damp. but she was enthused saying how she read that during the record's synthesis the guy didn't leave his home for 2 months, not even once. My response was firstly: bullshit, just a story to sell mediocre music, and secondly even if it's true, he's a fool to stay indoors for that long. well i didn't say all that to her out loud obviously. but that's what i thought!!!

the next update is going to be all about the show last week with Thee Satisfaction.. the seattle press was agog so much writeups and photos to come. but no video yet. i know someone out there has some fotage. yeah you. give it up!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Weekly Music

This one's for the hardcore Digable nostalgists. Not exactly an under-appreciated song, but it's cool for Ish's verse which I've heard nowhere else plus Ladybug Mecca also switches it up, giving her verse from Black Ego, while they bring is the chorus form Blowing Down to mix it up further.

New Song!!!

For wooziness it's up there with Girl Crazy and Barksdale Corners... an intoxicating reality check, if you listen to the lyrics. It's on the compilation 4 The Love of Music released on Tendai's label. 2 minutes. I'm sure a CD is obtainable somehow but if you can't find it then the mp3 is on sale at Amazon for a measly 99 cents:

Shabazz Palaces - Star Studded (Maraire Enterprises, 2010)

Don't sleep on this shapeless snippet of hiphop uniqueness. Endless ideas, abundant sounds in just 120 seconds. I've found it has burrowed its way into my consciousness with repeated listens.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Music for the Weekend

Here at Ishmaelites we post a song every week or so that fans of Shabazz might dig. The only thing they have in common is a marked originality, or startlingness. Sometimes they're even vintage Digable performances. This week we hip you to Claire Boucher aka Grimes, a 22-year old artist from Halifax, Canada. Despite making music for only 4 years this lady has something special. A Shabazz connection is that Grimes sounds like she's a Cocteau Twins fan. I remember coming across an old issue 1991 of Rolling Stone when I was like 16 and it had a sidebar on up and coming college bands. Sure enough there was Digable Planets (v.1) there. It said that Butterfly was "a fan of the ethereal Cocteau Twins", and that his group had "just signed a publishing deal". Being a true fan(atic) I immediately went out and bought The Pink Opaque... almost the first non-hiphop album I'd ever purchased. 'my little mind was blown' to say the least, and I became a committed Cocteau connoisseur. Anyway if you find Grimes as nice as I do, there's also a nice mini-documentary on her by Emily Kai Bock called Human Heart, which gives a nice glimpse into her world. So check out Grimes and let's hope she gets her publishing deal soon...

Grimes - Devon (unsigned, 2010)

If you have some nice songs you think could feature on the weekly music post, let me know by commenting below. PS I know we said the next update would be the new Shabazz track, but we'll give you that next time. Promise.

Word of New Album

Flyer above is to remind Seattle Towners to get to the show tonight... you only have a few hours left!!! No doubt you'll be hearing stuff off the new album...

Seattle Journalist Eric Grandy was among a select few who were invited to listen to this upcoming collection (coming 31/5 on subpop) and he's penned a mouth-watering piece HERE which gives us some idea of the unrestricted hotness that is soon to be turned up. Global warming.

Stay close to Ishmaelites because our next post is going to hip you to a new track you can get your hands on right now. Something for us fans to sustain ourselves until May.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Out Now: "Live at Sasquatch, 2010" digital album

(photo by Dave Lichterman)

Thanks to SP facebook page for this: Just released on itunes, the entire performance from Shabazz Palaces' set at Sasquatch, 2010. The 'cover' looks like it was done by Dumb Eyes... it's sharp, so check it out here along with a sample track.
Tracklisting is this:

1 Waking Sasquatch
2 32 Leaves Dipped In Blackness
3 Gunbeat Falls
4 4 Shadows
5 Kill White T A Parable
6 Hottabatch
7 Find Out
8 100 Sph
9 W'Shappenin'
10 Chuch
11 Blastit
12 A Mess

Much has been written in praise of Shabazz live, but unless you're lucky enough to have seen them, the only clue you'd have had was the KEXP appearance, and a few youtube clips of variable quality. Now mysterious forces have brought us this stellar performance from last spring in a fertile green canyon deep within Washington state. Unsurprisingly, I'm going to recommend this purchase (it costs 8 pounds here in the UK) loudly. Not only is there a new track "W'Shappenin?" but the album songs are all presented in crystalline clarity, with cavernous bass and crunchy sparkles from the MPC all played live, varying from the album versions to the attentive listener. Avid fans will experience somewhat shallow breath and goose bumps as they hear the passionate, almost demonic energy of Palaceer Lazaro on "Find Out". Throughout, he just rips it up. The feel of the show is strange though: you really feel like these guys just beamed down from space. They don't acknowledge the crowd, much less interact with them. They opened up the festival, and what a wake up call for those thousands of kids rolling up expecting a gentle, fun intro to their weekend. Nope. Shabazz just sonically sliced them up before pulverising them with an ancient wall of sound which crashes down from start to finish. It has now become one of my life ambitions to witness "100 sph" live at a music festival, and to join/begin a riot therein. Also let me ask who you think sings at the end of "4 Shadows"... it's either Tendai, Dougie, or a sample... what a rich voice. The famous final verse of "Chuch" is enunciated to a different, modest beat, while they wisely close with the miminalistic masterpiece, "A Mess". The bass on this song is nuts. Yes, even more nuts than the studio version. The whole rig at Sasquatch must have been something to behold: birds must've been dropping out the sky. In an email to me later on that day, Ish described the sound as "crispy and solid", and noted that Tendai brought 6 drums. This decent addition to the SP catalogue draws our attentions to what's happening next spring: A new album... on Sub Pop Records. [Long sigh]

Monday, February 14, 2011

Weekly Music

Forest Swords - Rattling Cage (No Pain in Pop, 2010)

London keeps on bringin it...

Friday, February 11, 2011

THEESatisfaction interview Shabazz Palaces

and then... Shabazz Palaces interviews THEESatisfaction. This is the best thing I've read for ages... real insight into the life of an artist. The first time I've seen Ish interviewing someone too. Thanks to the Seattle Times' Matson on Music blog:

Click HERE to read.

SXSW 2011

SP playing at SXSW (Austin Texas) on March 18!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Forgive them, even if they are not sorry"

Yesterday I was checking some Shabazz videos on youtube, surprised to read every comment underneath saying something like "THUMBS UP IF JULIAN SENT YOU :)"... "thanx jules" "haha Julian sent me here The power that man has haha :) Good song tho, he has awesome taste in music ♥" etc etc etc. Reading on a bit it turns out this Julian was none other than Julian Casablancas (singer and songwriter known for The Strokes) who tweeted in November that Digable were his favourite band growing up and that Lazaro's last verse on Chuch was the "best ever". Being the same age as Jules, I see how it was to strike such a deep vein at that age of 13 or 14 when DP were big... it changed my life. So anyway naturally thousands of adoring fans were introduced to SP through these few words. I then got curious, finding out that he had recorded a solo album. I liked Stroke's first album and purchased Room on Fire when it came out but it had limited shelf-life to me. After playing it non-stop for 2 weeks, I never felt like hearing it again!

So he's made this song 11th Dimension, which is not only excellent pop but has one of the best videos I've ever seen. It takes Bruce Lee's Game of Death idea with a pagoda and having to rise through the levels, but applies it the spiritual struggle. So his first task is to conquer his anger, provoked by being ripped-off by a fat theatre owner who personifies "America" as Julian sings, "America, I looked up to you, but you thought I'd look the other way." He then learns the lesson and scrawls it on a wall: "anger is weakness, patience is strength" and then ascends to the next level, where he has to learn to defeat 'desire', and on it goes until... self-realization/nirvana/enlightenment whatever you want to call it. There are so many momentous sides to this magical 4 and a half minutes. The bottom line: This older and wiser Julian Casablanca can write serious music from the heart. Inspired by Shabazz, and inspiring to this blogger for one. Did I mention I read an interview with him where he was saying how much he loves Rumi?


I'll just nod, I've never been so good at shaking hands
I live on the frozen surface of a fireball
Where cities come together to hate each other in the name of sport
America, nothing is ever just anything
I looked up to you, but you thought I would look the other way

And you hear what you want to hear
And they take what they want to take...

Don't be sad, won't ever happen like this anymore
So whens it coming, this last new great movement that I can join?
It won't end here, your faith has got to be greater than your fear

Forgive them, even if they are not sorry
All the vultures, bootleggers at the door waiting
You are looking for your own voice but in others
While it hears you, trapped in another dimension

Drop your guard, you don't have to be smart all of the time
I've got a mind full of blanks, I need to go somewhere new fast
And don't be shy, oh no, at least deliberately - cause no one really cares or wonders why anymore
Oh, I got music, coming out of my hands and feet and kisses...

That is how it once was done
All the dreamers on the run

Forgive them, even if they are not sorry
All the vultures, bootleggers at the door waiting
We're so quick to point out our own flaws in others
Complicated mammals on the wings of robots

If you believe in this world then no one has died in vain
But don't you dare get to the top and not know what to do

Nex Sho

Yo Mr Jordan please take some video if you go!

Music's IN your Heart

Toumani Diabate - live at Metrotech, Brooklyn NY (July 19th, 2007)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Portrait of Seattle

The photo above is by Kyle Johnson for his Portraits of Seattle project. The other photo (Lazaro solo) is featured here along with a great little (and I mean little) interview by Andrew Matson at the bottom of the page.

In other news, former Cherrywine guitarist Bubba Jones has recently posted the following on his website:

The new Shabazz is Erik Blood certified "in the can." Are we up for another Grammy?!!!!!!!

You know, though seems we've been awaiting the new songs for so long, when they hit us we will in no wise be prepared. Excitement. I miss it, that feeling of looking forward to a new release...Ish said in the Cherrywine days that excitement is anticipation with certainty. Now there are very few releases that get me excited. A new Shabazz Palaces record? My feelings are thankfulness, with the knowledge that we don't fully deserve such a blessing. Knowing I'll be revived. A good time to reread my main man Yoshi's ode to Shabazz.

And top-left coasters don't forget: SP @ Neumos, Thursday 17.2.11