Clear some space out, so we can space out. Shabazz Palaces‘ Black Up, an album big on ideas and rich in detail, finds its sweet spot when the space is cleared and all that’s left behind is the barest and most essential of ingredients. Ishmael Butler’s crisp no-nonsense rapping takes its rightful place at the forefront, finding an almost hypnoptic rhythm buoyed only by a neatly sampled vintage chorus of meandering oohs. Meanwhile, Tendai Maraire’s agreeable beats flit comfortably between the two while giving generous room for stretching out. On paper at least, this may seem almost too formulaic, but the track cruises with such dogged style (“take a chance cos you know we got to dazzle“) and packs such a punch (“I’m dressing like I was at the Ali-Frazier fight“) that you’d forgive its uncharacteristic structuredness. – Dan.
Black Up is released, also uncharacteristically, on Sub Pop.