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Shabazz Palaces are a once-elusive but still rather shadowy Seattle-based hip-hop collective that crept onto the scene back in 2009 with a bunch of highly received EPs, before signing to Sub Pop (more known for alternative, punk and hardcore) and making a name for themselves with their great debut Black Up. Some may remember Digable Planets, a hip-hop trio that operated in the '90s and the late '00s, their leader being Ishmael Butler, who happens to be the voice behind Shabazz Palaces. The music comes from another man, the mulit-instrumentalist Tendai 'Baba' Maraire, who is responsible for some of the weirdest, murkiest ear candy you will hear all year. It's hard to describe their sound, a disorienting and unsettling blend of drugged-out beats, spontaneous, cosmic effects and slow, groovy bass, that once put together, sounds like it could have been recorded in space. It's the kind of music that you don't need to get high to; you feel stoned as soon as it has you in its grasp.

Album number two is entitled Lese Majesty, and though longer than their first, it seems to flow better. At eighteen tracks, it never really drags at any point, and a lot can be said for Butler's captivating songwriting. His lyrics are prophetic, full of wisdom, meaning that at times it feels like you're attending a sermon. Shabazz Palaces certainly have a religious vibe to them, which is definitely aided by their early releases, EPs that were adorned in Arabic and decorated with sacred symbolism. They sound ancient and futuristic at the same time, which is a mindfuck in itself. The imagery that springs to mind is that of spacemen exploring an undiscovered planet in search of some old musical artefact. They're just fucking different, man. Amongst all the high art and the philosophical tongue-twisting, Butler will sometimes come down to our level, to reality, with a line like "life's a bitch, treat a girl or she'll get you back" (from highlight 'Motion Sickness') and you snap out of your glazed-over state.

The grandiose nature of Lese Majesty is enhanced by its format: the record is split into seven suites, almost like the chapters of a holy book. Examples include: The Phasing Shift, Palace War Council Meeting, Pleasure Milieu and Murkings on The Oxblood Starway. The whole record reeks of psychedelic, intergalactic connotations. Opening track 'Dawn in Luxor' begins with an electronic sound like dripping water, followed by reverberated, offbeat drums and a strange, soothing, synthezised organ. The song builds, with Butler laying down some hard truths ("a lesser rapper must continue lying to himself") before floating into the next track 'Forerunner Foray', an amazing, trance-inducing number with some super cool finger clicks and the gorgeous, hypnotic voice of THEESatisfaction's Catherine Harris-White.

'They Come in Gold' is possibly the most preaching song on Lese Majesty, drawing similarities to the "thou shalt..." moments of 'Free Press and Curl' from their debut. Butler spits: "Vanity, I love you for myself, me and always you and I was never no-one else. Sanity, a visage of my wealth, lost but always found before the idols that I knelt" and continues in this manner until halfway through the song, when it takes a trippy, more upbeat turn. It must be said here that Maraire's backing vocals are fantastic, drowned out in ethereal effects causing him to sound barely human. It all adds to the illusion, but whilst these two men may be camouflaged in some mythic aura, they couldn't get any realer if they tried.

'Solemn Swears' follows and lyrically it is possibly the best moment on the album. Over a dark, downcast beat Butler announces: "I set the tone, like Al Capone, I've very nice, like Jerry Rice, I make them dance, just at a glance, I'm coming up, like Donald Duck, I scream and yell, like Samuel L." There are just so many highlights to this LP. The space travel funk of 'The Ballad of Lt. Major Winnings' ("this is all a dance show - dance, sucka"), the jazz vibes of 'Soundview' (Flying Lotus would love this), the robotic, repetitive groove of '#CAKE'. I haven't heard anything like Shabazz Palaces before, in hip-hop or in any other genre. They're taking hip-hop in an odd, scary, innovative and exciting direction, and I like it. I like it a lot. Buy Lese Majesty, hire a starship, fasten your seatbelt and float into space with your two super-wise, all-seeing co-pilots.

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