Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines is a summer 2017 release from a hip-hop artist with a galactic sense of ambition and grandeur. Ishmael Butler, aka Shabazz Palaces, creates an otherworldly universe in this highly creative expedition through a mind realising the depths of his own imagination. Interstella rap at its most futuristic.
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It’s double the cosmos from avant crew Shabazz Palaces, who announced one record, put the release cycle on spin and then announced another. A deep and detailed lore binds this record and its sibling ‘Born On A Gangster Star’ together, the two centred around the “musical abassador” Quazarz and his journey to earth and its incomprehensible violence. Sci-fi beyond simple storytelling, these albums affirm themselves in the duo’s usual confidently unassuming and non-instructive beat soundscaping.
It begins out of nowhere and flows through with a seamless absent-mindedness, collating noisy, formless treatises alongside warped pop tunes (the hooking “Self-Made Follownaire”), both modes packing and developing the same story. Much like previous record ‘Lese Majesty’, the record shows off the progginess Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire have picked up on their journey, the duo happy to switch in and out of song parts like space explorers entering a wormhole on their way out of a galaxy. Their tracks segue from dissonant spoken word to gorgeous ambient segments; their best melodies get squashed on their way to grander things.
Butler’s style has been non-stop compelling since this duo made ‘Black Up’, a comparatively loose and free-falling record -- here, he manages to combine his verbose murmurations and their busy beatwork with hooks that act as bright guiding lights, moments that just about give you breathing space in the duo’s galaxial metropolis. It’s hard to describe something so inventive that it can only tell you about itself in its own language, but that’s what this record does: it puts you somewhere and expects you to live in its story. As ever, their sound's complications are non-stop thrilling.
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- Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines by Shabazz Palaces
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