Friday, April 20, 2012

Photos: Shabazz Palaces at the 40 Watt on April 19

Posted By on Fri, Apr 20, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Ishmael Butler of Shabazz Palaces
When Shabazz Palaces took the stage at the 40 Watt on April 19th, playing the opening slot for Sacramento dance-punk outfit !!!, the air in the room was transformed.

It was a typical Thursday night for downtown Athens. Throngs of college students choked up the sidewalks as they made their way from one bar to the next. But inside the 40 Watt, a darker, dreamlike atmosphere steeped in a low-end jumble of beats, rhymes, and aural clutter was unfolding.

Shabazz Palaces’ key players, Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire, craft a sound that’s literally unparalleled, an Afro-Krautrock groove that emerges from of layers upon layers of electronic sounds and organic rhythms that are pieced together to create simple working parts that play off of each other with subtle articulation. When Butler and Maraire emerged from the darkness at the back of the stage, shaking maracas as they took their places behind an arsenal of MPCs, microphones, a laptop, and various hand drums, the merger of these two components filled the air with soft clarity.

Tendai Maraire (left) and Ishmael Butler
Within moments of taking the stage, Butler and Maraire began swaying in slow motion to the clunky sounds they were creating, their bodies syncing up in obviously choreographed movements — hand gestures and slow head nods. Their set slithered along in one fluid motion, weaving in and out of numbers from last year’s Sub Pop Records debut, Black Up (“Swerve,” “An Echo From The Hosts That Profess Infinitum,” "Bronny On A Breakaway," and so on) into a murky terrain of sounds that are both primitive and futuristic by design, Vocoder and all.

Tendai Maraire

Ishmael Butler

Tendai Maraire

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