Like all the songs on Black Up, Shabazz Palaces' new CD, the first track, "Free Press and Curl," is divided into sections.


It begins with a spacey minimalist prelude: a male humming (or more like moaning) in rhythm; a 60s-girl group hand-clap beat; and pins and stars electronics.


A light  keyboard cuts in with a poppy '80s hook, but it's quickly overtaken by a buzz saw version played several octaves down. The 2011 version. This slows the tempo (deceptively) and sets up the hyper flow: A spastic rap built on 16th notes: "I cried with [somebody at somebody's] wake/snuck an extra slice of cake/when the pigs came round to make their case/I looked them dead up in they face/I never heard of none of that/soon as I win let's run it back/I run on feelings fuck your facts/deception is the truest act ..."

And tumbling on and on until it crashes against stark video game bass bombs: "Program racist sequences/don't compare my beat with his ..."


At which point the show starts: The song slips on electronic ice. A swooping loop that sounds like ghosts singing in the trees—or a descending UFO—takes over, setting the hypnotic rhythm for the repeated chant: "I'm free/you know/I'm free," featuring all sorts of renditions: "I'm free/pig, you know/I'm free"—building to "I'm super free," which hints at "Super Freak." Which sounds like they're spoofing the all-smiles black pop of Rick James. Which lands like the best revolutionary retort since the Last Poets' "party and bullshit" breakdown in 1969's "Die Nigga."


The skipping '80s pop synth line floats in again, before the song breaks down into what could be a make out D'Angelo drum click track—and there is a line about "kissing my girl"—but more so, features dark "Thou Shalt" biblical raps, a sinister Gary Numan new wave keyboard, and lines about "wishing I was in Africa."

Here's my post about track #7.
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