Leon Carr - Urban Utopia (Reinforced Records, 199?)
Monday, August 8, 2011
(above art From a Sudanese folk story-1993, first edition print. Illustrated by Hassan Ali Ahmad courtesy of Soorah)
Someone/thing called Noisey has made this excellent 30 minute documentary combining footage of the Black Up release shows in Seattle with interviews with the band and associates. The live version of Youlogy literally made the hairs stand up on my arms. Their website is really slow and it might take ages for anything to load so keep your swerve in control
NOISEY 093: SHABAZZ PALACES, SEATTLE
I love this video with its funky lo-fi effects. Sound quality could be better though. The way the palaceer and tendai are exploring the outer edges of their continent even if it means they're only playing to a small crowd. This is what sun ra and his arkestra were doing for most of his career. Once ish recommended me his bio "space is the place", by john f szwed, and it opened my eyes to the sheer dedication of true artists who believe and sacrifice everything for their art, as long as they live.
So a few years has passed and Ish has released another classic album. The strange thing is, that this time all the critics seems to 'get it' too. That might have happened with Reachin' (a new refutation of time and space) but it definitely didn't with Blowout Comb (at the time anyway) or Bright Black. Of course, Eagles Soar, Oil Flows and The Seven New weren't promoted anyway. I'd gotten so used to the larger media's ability to somehow ignore the output of one of the most original voices in modern music that the tsunami of critical praise over Black Up left me a bit startled (as did listening to the LP itself). Life surprises. In this post I'm sharing some national (USA) print publications' reviews of Black Up:
ROLLING STONE gives it 4 out of 5 stars, and concludes that "we have no choice but to be compelled"
FILTER MAGAZINE gave it 88% and proclaiming that "Shabazz Palaces have truly arrived"
THE L.A. TIMES also gave it 4/5 stars, adding: "Like the Tribe of Shabazz from whom they take their name, Shabazz Palaces is the sound of survival, inured against extreme climate, adamantine as diamond clusters, and levitative as any insect."
THE NEW YORK TIMES breathes a sigh of relief: "Yes, hip-hop still has an audacious progressive fringe. "