SXSW Artist Preview – Shabazz Palaces

Bold, experimental and dark, and absolutely fitting for a festival like South by Southwest, an insanely immense microcosm especially good at highlighting fringe genres. Shabazz Palaces emerged onto the scene shrouded in carefully-crafted cloud of mystery, much like the electro-transcendent synth taps, deranged drum beats and mbira cut-ins weaved between the cryptic lyrics. The project is the creation of Palaceer Lazaro, or Ishamel “Butterfly” Butler of Digable Planets. Suffice it to say, the planets have left the solar system.

Shabazz Palaces also just recently announced the drop for their sophomore album, “Black Up” on Sub Pop records May 31. Normally, I laugh at record label album descriptors, but the one Sub Pop wrote for “Black Up” takes you to that sleep-deprived kind of laugh where nothing and everything make sense together.

Black Up is the new sonic move from Shabazz Palaces. Like rich velvet hijabs or gold threaded abayas. Luxury as understood by the modest. Shabazz Palaces. If Bedouins herded beats instead of goats and settled in Seattle instead of the Atlas Mountains, this would be their album. Forward thinkers but nostalgic for a sparer time when ancient astronomers only recognized five planets. Hip hop. Black light uses electromagnetic radiation to eradicate microorganisms, but shabazz didn’t come to kill a sound, just to shine their own incandescent lamp on this. Hear. Hard and clear. Fifty thousand years in the making. Honorable. palaceer pink gators. Produced by Knife Knights. plcrs at Gunbeat Serenade Studio in Outplace Palacelands. It was recorded and mixed in Lixx-alog by Blood.

You can sample one of the tracks, “An Echo From the Hosts that Profess Infinitum,” as long as you’re willing to sacrifice your email address. But, if you’re going to be in my beloved Austin, Texas for SXSW, definitely make time for some Shabazz.

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Shabazz Palaces at SXSW 2011

Thursday, March 17
Pitchfork Day Party @ East Side Drive (In 1001 E. Sixth St, 2:00 pm)

Friday, March 18
Gorilla vs. Bear Day Party @ Klub Krucial (612 East 6th Street, 5:00 pm)
Sub Pop Showcase @ Red 7 (611 E 7th St, 8:50 pm)