This has been a sort of OMIGODHELP week back at work, and the very depths of summer ennui have grabbed me firmly by both ankles. So I’ve only been splashing around in little pools of new music, not willing to commit until I heard the new Shabazz Palaces album Black Up (out this week on Sub Pop Records).
It’s a cerebral album from musicians that hover behind a sheet of enigma. The new project of former Digable Planets member Ishmael Butler and mostly-unidentified collaborators, the album resists classifications. The Village Voice piece described the lengthy song titles spot-on as reading “like Babel fish translations.” Beats stutter and start and roll over and fade quickly. Your brain flits around while you listen, trying to find a foothold but okay with the slipperiness.
I don’t have many words for this album, and that’s good. Alls I know is that this makes me want to shake my shoulders (and other parts) when I listen.
And as an enjoyable little surface pleasure, the album also comes in a BLACK VELVET CASE flecked with shiny gold, and this makes me like it even more — like someone just gave me a really nice present.