Shabazz Palaces’ previously announced U.S. dates with Ms. Lauryn Hill resume on September 20th at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California and run through October 7th at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago. The band will also appear at Cropped Out Festival in Louisville on October 6th. Please find a complete list of dates below.
Shabazz Palaces have also shared “Quazarz on 23rd” a short film for the closing song from Quazarz Vs The Jealous Machines, their acclaimed release and second album of 2017 [watch here].”
Director, multimedia artist and fellow Black Constellation member Nep Sidhu says of the visual: “In continuing from the previous short film (“Welcome to Quazarz”), A Being from the Quazarz raises from the Black Constellation System Scramble ® but still finds himself lost tonally and sonically amidst earth’s recent offerings. In receiving Bhai Vir Singh’s response by way of a familiar female form, he journeys to ready himself to meet her on H.E.R. terms by way of cleanliness, and a non-deity based ritual. Far from superstition, this is a ceremony that has no place for fake cathartic release. An indigo drenched reflection in drum awaits his understanding of himself.”
“Quazarz on 23rd” stars Michael Singh (as “The Soul”) and Allix Thompson (as “Mother Nature”), and features collaborations from: Michael Reynolds (editing and analog optics); Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Noel Chaput, and Reynolds (VHS cinematography); and Alex McLeod (animation).
In related news, Sidhu will also unveil new works at the grand opening of Toronto’s MOCA Museum first show entitled “Believe,” beginning September 22 (through January 6th, 2019). This includes the Shabazz Palaces-inspired “Quazarz Pinball Machine w/ Leisure & Surveillance Enhancement Console” which will make its debut at the show.
Sep. 20 - Mountain View, CA - Shoreline Amphitheatre* Sep. 26 - Denver, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre* Sep. 29 - Houston, TX - Smart Financial Center Sugarland* Sep. 30 - Dallas, TX - The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory* Oct. 03 - New Orleans, LA - Lakefront Arena* Oct. 05 - St. Louis, MO - Chaifetz Arena* Oct. 06 - Louisville, KY - Cropped Out Festival at American Turners Oct. 07 - Chicago, IL - The Chicago Theatre* Nov. 18 - Brussels, BE - Forest National* Nov. 20 - Paris, FR - AccorHotels Arena* Nov. 21 - Paris, FR - AccorHotels Arena* Nov. 23 - Glasgow, UK - SSE Hydro* Nov. 26 - Manchester, UK - Manchester Arena* Nov. 27 - Birmingham, UK - Birmingham Arena* Nov. 30 - Dublin, IE - 3Arena* Dec. 03 - London, UK - O2 Arena* *w/ Ms. Lauryn Hill
Quazarz Born on a Gangster Starand Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines, the group’s third and fourth albums released in 2017, are available now on CD / LP / DL / CS / Illustrated album worldwide through Sub Pop over here, and you can hear here:
Knife Knights have shared a new visual for the song “Low Key,” from 1 Time Mirage, their otherworldly debut, directed by Dean Blunt. Gorilla vs. Bear premiered the visual and had this to say, “Knife Knights team up with a kindred experimental spirit in enigmatic London luminary Dean Blunt on the visuals for “Low Key“, taken from Knife Knights’ fathomless new debut LP 1 Time Mirage. The group’s bio refers to the hazy “Low Key” as a “radiant daydream,” and Blunt takes that concept in an impenetrably nebulous direction [see September 13th post].”
1 Time Mirage is out today on CD/LP/DL/CS worldwide from Sub Pop. The long-player features the highlights “Give You Game,”“Seven Wheel Motion,”“My Dreams Never Sleep”“Light Up Ahead (Time Mirage)”and the aforementioned “Low Key.” The album also includes guest appearances from labelmates Shabazz Palaces and Porter Ray, along with Stas THEE Boss, OCnotes, Thaddillac, El Mizell, Marquetta Miller, Gerald Turner, and Darrius Willrich. 1 Time Mirage was produced by Ishmael Butler and Erik Blood at Protect and Exalt: A Black Space in Seattle.
London in Stereo says 1 Time Mirage is “[A] spellbinding fusion of rap, blessed funk, and tough soul, and The Wire called it a “suite of sci-fi cosmic hip-hop that takes myriad turns and twists, none of them predictable, all of them compelling.”
Meanwhile, Loud and Quiet, in its 8/10 review, had this say, “Like Butler’s frequent collaborator Flying Lotus, Knife Knights create a rich, fibrous world around each of the tracks on 1 Time Mirage. This is an album whose air you can breathe, whose fragrant musk seeps from each detail. Its production has an insomniac energy, oddly tranquil and unsettled at the same time, each dab of reverb and tickling delay sending ripples through the fug of warped beats and sardonic rhymes.”
And Bandcamp Daily offered this, “1 Time Mirage leapfrogs across several different genres and subgenres, pulling hip-hop, psychedelic soul, and shoegaze into an 11-track set of chaotic noise. Between the woozy bounce of “Seven Wheel Motion,” the house-inflected stomp of “Can’t Draw The Line,” and the hazy pop of “Come On Let’s Go,” the album is easily as esoteric as anything created by Shabazz Palaces; but the music here feels lusher and more sophisticated.”
Watch KEXP live performances of 1 Time Mirage tracks “Seven Wheel Motion,” “Give You Game,” and “My Dreams Never Sleep”
Knife Knights have shared “Seven Wheel Motion,” a new offering from 1 Time Mirage,
their forthcoming debut album for Sub Pop. Colossal drums puncture
walls of labyrinthine noise sculpted from deranged synthesizers and
mutated guitars throughout and is an absolute powerhouse of a song.
Ishmael Butler seems to rap in dialogue with himself, detailing a
threatening streetscape and shaping the experience into personal
realizations. “Smooth landings, queens in tandems, cash in grand sums,”
he declares at one point. “Life is random/I roll the dice and bet on me.”
Knife Knights recently premiered the aforementioned “Seven Wheel Motion” with additional 1 Time Mirage standouts “Give You Game,” and “My Dreams Never Sleep” live for KEXP. [see July 19th session.]
1 Time Mirage will be available worldwide September 14th from
Sub Pop. The otherworldly long-player features guest appearances from
labelmates Shabazz Palaces and Porter Ray, along with Stas THEE Boss, OCnotes, Thaddillac, El Mizell, Marquetta Miller, Gerald Turner, and
Darrius Willrich. The album was produced by Ishmael Butler and Erik
Blood at Protect and Exalt: A Black Space in Seattle.
Plus, Sub Pop’s “SPF30 Singles Spectacular”: 4 limited-edition commemorative split 7” singles featuring new songs from Mudhoney, Shabazz Palaces, Hot Snakes, Frankie Cosmos, METZ, LVL UP
We are delighted to share more details for SPF30 and Sub Pop’s 30th Anniversary weekend (<- click to see the very, very official website of SPF30), happening Friday, August 10th and Saturday, August 11th, 2018 in beautiful Seattle, Washington.
Father John Misty, Hot Snakes, and Bully have just been added to the lineup for SPF30 on Saturday, August 11th. The newly announced groups will join Beach House, Clipping, Kyle Craft, Fastbacks, Jo Passed, Loma, LVL UP, METZ, Moaning, Mudhoney, Shabazz Palaces, Wolf Parade, Caspar Babypants, The Not-Its!, and The School of Rock West Seattle House Band over four stages along incredibly scenic Alki Ave. in the Alki Beach neighborhood of West Seattle.
Stage names and set times are as follows:
LOSER STAGE (@ Bathhouse West) 1:30 - Moaning 3:15 - Bully 5:15 - Fastbacks 7:00 - Wolf Parade 9:00 - Father John Misty
THE FLIPPITY-FLOP STAGE (@ Bathhouse East) 12:45 - LVL UP 2:30 - Loma 4:15 - Clipping 6:00 - Shabazz Palaces 8:00 - Beach House
PUNKY STAGE (@ Whale Tail Park) 1:00 - Caspar Babypants 2:00 - The Not-Its! 4:00 - The School of Rock West Seattle House Band
SPF30 Singles Spectacular
Also on August 11th at SPF30, Sub Pop will offer the “SPF30 Singles Spectacular”: 4 limited-edition commemorative split 7” singles featuring as-yet-unreleased tracks from 8 artists on the label. Each of these singles will be on colored vinyl, in an edition of 1,000, with covers featuring SPF30 artwork by Rick Froberg (of Hot Snakes). This collection of 7”s will be available individually and as a set. (limit: 2 per-person) And those savvy enough to buy all four will be delighted to find that the interiors of the covers combine to make one complete SPF30 poster-like image.
SPF30 Singles Spectacular tracklist: 1. Mudhoney “One Bad Actor” b/w Hot Snakes “They Put You Up to This” 2. Shabazz Palaces “The Blue Tiger” b/w Chad VanGaalen “Friendly Aliens” 3. Frankie Cosmos “Home Is Where” b/w LVL UP “Orchard” 4. METZ “Escalator Teeth/On and On” b/w Clipping “Club Down”
More about SPF30:
SPF30 is a free, all-ages event and will also have…A record fair-type thing! A PaperStock poster exhibit and sale! Food trucks! Beer gardens! A true bonanza of new Sub Pop and SPF30 merch! (The t-shirts, records, posters, food and beer and wine and soda or whatever, you will have to pay for! These parts are not free!) Good times and opportunities to embarrass yourself and those who’d always hoped for better for you!
Also joining us at SPF30 will be a stellar group of nonprofit organizations doing incredible work, and offering tools that we believe can help us as individuals lead healthier, safer and more informed lives. Organizations at SPF30 include Motley Zoo, Puget Soundkeeper, Seattle Derby Brats, Skate Like A Girl, Totem Star, Vera Project, Village of Hope / Black Prisoners Caucus, Washington Bus, Washington Ceasefire, West Seattle Helpline, and YouthCare. There will also be anti-sexual assault and safe consumption organizations on site, and free advice with therapists Galeet & Geri. These community organizations enact positive, systemic change in the world, and we at Sub Pop couldn’t be more proud to have them all present at SPF30.
Seattle’s Alki Beach boasts some of the most awesome territorial (city/water/mountain) views the city has to offer, along with the occasional whale sighting, a somewhat diminutive replica of the Statue of Liberty, and some of the best local businesses to boot. We are honored to be welcomed by the Alki Beach neighborhood. And while we want everyone to have fun, we also want everyone to be respectful of those who live there. We’d also like to thank our SPF30 beneficiary Southwest Seattle Historical Society for their support in planning this event.
And closing out our festivities is a late show celebrating the unbelievably “coincidental” 15th anniversary of Pissed Jeans at the Crocodile in Seattle. This show is 21 +, and doors are at 8pm. Tickets are still available for $16 here.
SPF30 and the Pissed Jeans 15th Anniversary Show on Sat., Aug. 11th, are preceded by two events on the evening of Friday, August 10th. The Afghan Whigs, Mass Gothic and Yuno are playing a free, all-ages outdoor concert at the Mural Amphitheatre, presented by KEXP and Seattle Center (starting at 5 pm). Later that same evening, we are presenting A Night of Comedy From the Cast of Bob’s Burgers at The Moore Theatre: A Benefit For Youth Care, featuring H. Jon Benjamin, Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, Larry Murphy and John Roberts. This event is happening at The Moore Theatre and is sold out (7 pm).
It is our hope that SPF30 and Sub Pop’s 30th Anniversary Weekend will serve as a super fun and sincere “thank you” to our local and global music community for supporting Sub Pop and our artists for the past 30 years (and the next 30!).
In addition to celebrating a dynamic, inspirational roster spanning three decades, we also wish to create a sense of uplifting togetherness where we not only listen to great music but we become better at listening to each other as well.
Schedule of Things Happening
JULY 26 / AUGUST 2ND / AUGUST 9TH SUB POP TURNTABLE SESSIONS KEXP Gathering Space • FREE • 6-8pm • ALL-AGES The Sub Pop Turntable Sessions are three distinct panel discussions highlighting multiple facets of Sub Pop’s history in celebration of the label’s 30th anniversary. Each session will review snippets of past label happenings and works while discussing how they relate to the label and our society’s future. The first session will be on July 26th, featuring Sub Pop LOSER Scholarship winners. The next will be on August 2nd and will feature Seattle-based collective Black Constellation. And for the third session we’ll be bringing in the Sub Pop’s own Mudhoney, as they also celebrate their 30th anniversary this year as well. Session 1: Sub Pop Loser Scholarship Winners. Session 2: Black Constellation. Session 3: Mudhoney’s 30th.
AUGUST 10TH SUB POP’S BIG 30TH ANNIVERSARY KICK-OFF SHOWCASE • THE MURAL AMPHITHEATRE • 5PM • ALL-AGES • FREE!!! A special Concert at the Mural presented by KEXP and Seattle Center with The Afghan Whigs, Mass Gothic, Yuno
A NIGHT OF COMEDY FROM THE CAST OF BOB’S BURGERS • THE MOORE THEATRE • 7PM DOOR • ALL-AGES [***SOLD OUT***] Featuring H. Jon Benjamin, Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, Larry Murphy, John Roberts
AUGUST 11TH SPF30: SUB POP’S 30TH ANNIVERSARY FESTIVAL• ALKI BEACH, WEST SEATTLE • NOON - 10PM • ALL- AGES • FREE!!! Beach House, Bully, Clipping, Kyle Craft, Father John Misty, Fastbacks, Hot Snakes, Jo Passed, Loma, LVL UP, METZ, Moaning, Mudhoney, Shabazz Palaces, Wolf Parade, Caspar Babypants, The Not-Its!, and The School of Rock West Seattle House Band
THE CROCODILE • 8PM DOOR • 21 AND OVER • $16 The Unbelievably “Coincidental” 15th Anniversary of Pissed Jeans
On September 14th, Sub Pop will release 1 Time Mirage, the otherworldly debut long-player from the hermetic duo Knife Knights. The 11-track album features standouts “My Dreams Never Sleep,” and “Light Up Ahead (Time Mirage),” along with the previously released introductory single (+ official video) for “Give You Game [see here].” 1 Time Mirage features guest appearances from labelmates Shabazz Palaces and Porter Ray, along with Stas Thee Boss, OCnotes, Thaddillac, El Mizell, Marquetta Miller, Gerald Turner, and Darrius Willrich. The album was produced by Ishmael Butler and Erik Blood at Protect and Exalt: A Black Space in Seattle.
In further exciting news, Knife Knights make their live debut on KEXP in Seattle today. Watch now [see interview & live stream July 19th; noon PST]!
Knife Knights 1 Time Mirage will be available on CD/LP/DL/CS worldwide from Sub Pop. Preorders of the album through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser edition pressed on blue and white marbled vinyl.
Knife Knights 1 Time Mirage Tracklisting
1. Bionic Chords (feat. OCnotes & Darrius Willrich) 2. Drag Race Legend 3. Give You Game (feat. Marquetta Miller & Stas Thee Boss) 4. Light Up Ahead (Time Mirage) [feat. Porter Ray, Gerald Turner, Darrius Willrich, OCnotes & Shabazz Palaces] 5. Seven Wheel Motion 6. Low Key (feat. Shabazz Palaces) 7. My Dreams Never Sleep (feat. OCnotes, Marquetta Miller & Shabazz Palaces) 8. Light Work (feat. El Mizell) 9. Can’t Draw the Line (feat. OCnotes) 10. Come On Let’s Go (feat. OCnotes & Marquetta Miller) 11. Mr. President
[Photo Credit: Justin Henning]
Knife Knights were born of the love of mystery.
A decade ago, Ishmael Butler—the architect of the groundbreaking but long-disbanded hip-hop group Digable Planets—was preparing at last to emerge from years of near-complete silence. He unveiled his new outlet, Shabazz Palaces, in the summer of 2009 through a pair of self-released EPs, surrounding his hyperlinked verses with webs of psychedelic textures and refracted rhythms. From the start, confidentiality seemed essential: Butler wanted Shabazz Palaces to stand on its own strength, not his outsized reputation, so he adopted a nom de plume for himself.
As the project’s network expanded, though, he needed new monikers for his partnerships. Knife Knights is the name he gave to his work with Seattle engineer, producer, songwriter, and film composer Erik Blood, a vital force in the Shabazz Palaces universe. Now, after more than a decade of collaboration and the development into of a rich friendship, Butler and Blood have made a proper full-length record together as Knife Knights: 1 Time Mirage, an eleven-track odyssey that finds the pair and a cast of their friends weaving together a singular world of soul and shoegaze, hip-hop and lush noise, bass and bedlam. 1 Time Mirage represents a playground for Butler and Blood, a free space for unfettered exploration, and a radically adventurous start to something much more than a mere production duo or side project.
Butler and Blood met in 2003 at a Spiritualized show in Seattle, introduced by a mutual friend who was soon set to record Butler in his studio. A Digable Planets zealot, Blood was floored, passing a bootleg copy of Blowout Comb to his friend for an autograph (which Butler dutifully provided). For the next few years, they’d run into one another by chance and sometimes make small talk about working together. When Butler finally sent him a few tunes to mix, the kinship seemed obvious and immediate. Though Butler had grown up as a hip-hop student, he’d started absorbing shoegaze rock and ambient soundscapes, too. Blood, meanwhile, was an ardent hip-hop fan who had always been an inclusive listener. On every Shabazz Palaces album, Butler and Blood have delighted at that artistic intersection, constantly indoctrinating hip-hop in new worlds of sound. “He takes my ideas and clarifies and pronounces them, helps me realize them,” explains Butler. “He helps me get to the essence.”
Recorded in three fertile sessions interrupted by Shabazz Palaces tours and Blood’s recording projects, 1 Time Mirage is a profound fulfilment of that partnership, realized at the crossroads of Butler’s and Blood’s mutual enthusiasms. Their shared interests have been split into pieces and fused together with enviable imagination. Take “Give You Game,” where Butler and Blood weave their distant voices through a landscape of synthesizers and drums that bubble up sporadically, like geysers. Marquetta Miller and THEESatisfaction’s Stasia Irons soon join, their round tones lacing around those sounds and giving them shape. It is an abstract anthem to astral love.
“Low Key” suggests a radiant daydream, with kaleidoscopic synthesizers and faded harmonies pirouetting over puzzle pieces of dizzying percussion and understated funk. “Can’t Draw the Line” rushes headlong like some narcotized disco fantasy, with its four planted firmly on the floor but Butler’s breathy voice and an armada of synthesizers stretching skyward. They splice doo-wop harmonies to scattered dub rhythms during “Light Up Ahead (Time Mirage),” hard-edged verses to industrial din during “ Mr. President.” Colossal drums puncture walls of labyrinthine noise sculpted from deranged synthesizers and mutated guitars during “Seven Wheel Motion,” an absolute powerhouse. Butler seems to rap in dialogue with himself, detailing a threatening streetscape and shaping the experience into personal realizations. “Smooth landings, queens in tandems, cash in grand sums,” he declares at one point. “Life is random/I roll the dice and bet on me.”
In the decade since Butler launched Shabazz Palaces and first christened his partnership with Blood as Knife Knights, much of that project’s external mystery has, of course, fallen away. And 1 Time Mirage is a very public step forward for the pair. That early sense of secrecy has given way to a spirit of friendship and creative candor, to the doors of experimentation being thrown open by old pals thrilled by the prospect of testing new ideas.
Still, these eleven songs retain a core of intrigue and, indeed, mystery; each listen reveals yet another connection between infinite and interlocking pieces. To wit, Robert Beatty’s brilliant cover for 1 Time Mirage depicts a futuristic vehicle, being coolly steered with one hand into some great, mildly ominous unknown. That’s how these songs feel, too—confident conquests of the dark that unlock sounds and spaces you have yet to imagine.
Now watch their incisive take on the gentrification and “sceneism” of today, in the official video for “Give You Game” [NSFW], a new song featuring Stas The Boss (THEESatisfaction).
Knife Knights is a new collaboration from Ishmael Butler and musician/producer Erik Blood. The first offering from the union comes in the form of new [and somewhat NSFW] visual for “Give You Game,” directed by Justin Henning.
On “Give You Game,” Butler and Blood weave their distant voices through a landscape of synthesizers and drums that bubble up sporadically, like geysers. Marquetta Miller and former THEESatisfaction member Stasia Irons soon join, their round tones lacing around those sounds and giving them shape. It is an abstract anthem to astral love. “Give You Game” also features a guest appearance from guitarist Thaddillac.
Recorded during fertile sessions interrupted by Shabazz Palaces tours and Blood’s recording projects, “Give You Game” marks an exciting new chapter in the creative partnership, realized at the crossroads of Butler’s and Blood’s mutual enthusiasms. Their shared interests have been split into pieces and fused together with enviable imagination.