Wednesday, July 10, 2013

[Press article] Shabazz Palaces, a hip hop duo from Seattle in Daegu!!

A very rare sound that most call Experimental/alternative hip hop, but according to the duo their music is just plain Hip Hop and I concur. One that adds a brand new, unique, fresh and intelligent element to hip hop almost to an unfathomable degree.

"Brilliant music has an edge to it (so slightly avant-garde) but also retains an accessible and beautiful element to it.” Is how the Black Up album has been described.

Shabazz Palaces are a hip hop duo from Seattle and is made up of Palaceer Lazaro, Aka Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler, who most people would know from the Grammy award winning 90s Hip Hop Troupe “Digable Planet”. The lead vocalist raps and uses a sampler and a Mac at the same time, while the other member Tendai Marare the multi instrumentalist, in the live setup of the duo multi-tasks various instruments like the African congas, mbira, thumb piano and a little electronic trigger pad while adding back-up vocals.

The Multitasking Tendai AKA  Baba

If you’ve heard any of their albums you’ll identify the fact that their live performances aren’t quite the same as the recorded versions. Live, they are able to manipulate their sound live by going on a tandem of this musical improvisation by radically expanding their tunes and right back to the groove they were experimenting with at first. Their tunes give off a continuous sonic experience that can lose you in a psychedelic hypnosis mode by creating a melodic, hypnotic and meditative ambiance in the room.

Their tracks evolve into other tracks, Very unusual and can send you on a high. Their songs are played in a jam like concession, with minimal pauses, which gives a continuous non stop performance feel. The set was very charismatic. I was mostly mesmerized by my favorite song Are we…..Can we…..Were we? (felt) from the set. During the performance Lazaro and Baba had worked out some synchronized dance moves. This added an even cooler factor. One of the highlights of the set was “An echo from the hosts that profess infinitum.”

They are currently on their South East Asian tour, having been to countries like Japan, Thailand, china their next stop was inevitably Korea. They performed in Busan right before Daegu and were due to perform in Seoul with a larger crowd expected the next day before returning to the US for the rest of their tour.

Lazaro as he is now known to Shabazz palaces fans, differentiates himself from the mainstream when he raps by not prerecording his sets everything happens in the moment. He raps live. There’s no track playing in the back. What you hear is instrumentation–a bit of samples, acoustic, electronic is all happening live. Because of this there is a lot of spontaneity in the performance, the tunes permutated in an unpredictable way.

The show was held at urban downtown, a local live bands venue. The opening set was by a DJ DAZED MARROW 1, not much info about him really. ShaBazz Palaces got on stage as scheduled. The crowd turn up was not as high, but despite not knowing the band well enough they surely gained a new fan base by the end of the night.


Shabazz Fans Josh Brown and Josh O’Brien

Happy fan with a signed poster

Our bloggers Cat and Kassandra had a great night

Me striking the Korean pose with “Butterfly”

After speaking to the duo and asking them about their expectations about Korea, they said “No expectation” is what has made their performances as a surprise and a success. They never predetermine their audience is what Ishmael” Butterfly” who shyly hides his bright eyes behind shades said.

Understandably they did expect to see a South Korean crowd, but were instead surprised by turnout of an expat crowd .I also learned they are not very keen on formal interviews, so casual conversations became the order of the evening.

Our Foreign blogger Kassandra with Butterfly

It also turns out it was Butterfly’s birthday; DIY Daegu crew surprised the artists with a super color super decorated cake...

A nice surprise from DIY DAEGU (Supercolorsuper)

I must say they were just phenomenal. A lot of sound that comes from their performance is being executed with the same instruments without pre-recording and this is very refreshing. No doubt this is just the beginning for this recently sub pop signed duo.

DIY Daegu is part of the Super Color Super Team and they bring to Daegu live local and international acts. Like their page on facebook to make sure not to miss any of their future events. (

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