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Shabazz Palaces with !!! at Tipitina's 

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In October 2010, eight months before releasing its full-length album and with just two self-released EPs to its cryptic name, Shabazz Palaces played a gig inside the American Museum of Natural History's Rose Center for Earth and Space. The innovative night-at-the-museum concert series, dubbed "One Step Beyond," had featured the likes of Kanye West and Battles, but despite the relative lack of star power, it's hard to imagine a more fitting act for the Rose Center's microcosmic solar system than Shabazz Palaces — a Seattle hip-hop duo led by Ishmael Butler of Digable Planets, who appears here under the veil Palaceer Lazaro — or a more fittingly awe-inspiring arena for a telescopic ultrasound of Black Up (Sub Pop), the group's then-gestational debut. That bit of astrophysical kismet is about all Butler's two projects have in common. To say Black Up sounds nothing like the Planets' atmospheric '90s grooves is limiting — its shuddering, embolismic production sounds like nothing else in hip-hop. Winding through dubstep wind tunnels and grimy U.K. garage, Butler and partner Tendai Maraire turn off the lights and rearrange the furniture: "Endeavors for Never" is stalked by creeper horns and foreboding female vocals (by Cat of new labelmate THEESatisfaction), and "Recollections of the Wraith" rotates around ruptured bass, a motherly soul sample and Butler's recurring motif, "Clear some space out/ So we can space out." You can almost hear it reverberating off six stories of glass, disrupting gravity and altering orbits, a universal studio/waiting room for the Big Bang soon to come. !!! headlines. Tickets $14 in advance, $15 day of show. — Noah Bonaparte Pais


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