1 TIME MIRAGE SUB POP, OUT NOW Enduring left-field rapper loses his bearings.
Hip-hop doesn’t offer many second acts. So the reinvention of Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler of early-’ 90s jazzy, conscious rappers Digable Planets, some 15 years on as half of Sub Pop-signed left-field crew Shabazz Palaces, has been as heartening as it is surprising. His new project Knife Knights, a collaboration with producer Erik Blood, takes Shabazz’s sci-fi eccentricity not as an outlier, but as a catapult to go further and weirder. And it’s likely to leave many listeners behind. Often the beats are so clumpy that the vocals are left trying to drag things forward, like the stronger partner in a three-legged race. A rare moment of beauty, the lovely, floaty My Dreams Never Sleep, hints at what might have been. ★★ STEVE YATES Listen To: My Dreams Never Sleep | Low Key