One thing for sure about Seattle hip hop oddities Shabazz Palaces: they do things their own damn way. For instance, rather than promote their out-fucking-standing sophomore album and Sub Pop debut Black Up with a music video for a lead single back in June when the album was released, they drop this video sampler, essentially a super engrossing, typically weirded-out advert for the entire album, now, in December. (They did more or less the same thing with their debut EPs, via the stylish black-and-white clip "Bellhaven Meridian.") Maybe it's a clever way of reminding critics to put the album in their year-end Best of 2011 lists (duh)--after all, it's already got the Seattle Times' Andrew Matson calling it "Video of the Year" on the morning of its release, and the hell with the last 11 months.
And while it's a typically beautiful video--directed, as was "Bellhaven Meridian," by Kahlil Joseph--it makes you wonder what Shabazz Palaces could do if they lowered themselves to making "proper" music videos for individual songs.
Some might argue that they'd have to sacrifice the strangeness of the above clip--the interludes that don't correspond to tracks on the album, the slowed-down dub of Thee Satisfaction's Catherine Harris-White's singing--but it's 2011, and we've all seen video clips that play with and around a song's actual music. (To pull just the first example that comes to mind, think of Spike Jonze's clip for Daft Punk's "Da Funk," in which dialogue in the video runs over the original audio track. Second thing comes to mind: INXS's clip for "Need You Tonite," because it came with its own b-side video, the Dylan-lifting "Meditate"--an example that a video need not merely be a single song.)
Anyway, I say this not to disparage the above clip, which is lovely, but to ask: why can't we have a half dozen such clips for this album?