Review By: Josh Svetz
RIYL: Death Grips, Das Racist, Madvillian
Best Tracks: “Forerunner Foray,” “Youlogy,” “Swerve,” and “The Reaping of All That is Worthwhile”
Experimental hip hop group Shabazz Palaces haven’t dropped an album since 2014, but this live performance should tide fans over.
Usually, groups based on production and electronic beats have hit and miss live shows, but Palaces prove to put on a show.
Opening with African bongo drums, distorted synths and underwater vocals, Palaces sets the stage for an epic collage of instrumentation.
“New Black Wave” begins with an eerie mix of drums, piano, synths and sound machines.
Ishmael Butler drops his signature vocals mixing with the multi-instrumentation of Baba Maraire beautifully.
The seamless transition into “Forerunner Forray” offers a nice change of pace while staying with the atmospheric mood.
The most interesting point of the record may be the elevation of the lesser known songs through a live audience. For example, “Youlogy” always delivered as a solid song, but live — it’s a completely different experience. The sinister track drops to darker depths as the reverb turns to 11. The complimenting drums and guitars match the mood, bringing out the explicitness of the lyrics presented.
Surprisingly, some of the best songs by Palaces like “They Come in Gold” fail to capture the greatness heard on original recording.
However, whether it’s the dazzling flow on “Clown Music” or the funky lyricism on “Swerve, The Reaping of All That is Worthwhile” Palaces has many more highlights than disappointments. Overall, Shabazz Palaces blew away expectations with this drop.