Our Henry Whittier-Ferguson reviews the two new sibling albums from Shabazz Palaces, taking them into the furthest orbits of hip-hop.
Bryson Cone’s first and only single thus far, “Destination Nightmare,” blends elements of jazz, dream pop and sound collage with punk undertones. The first half of the song is a sensitive nightmare story, lyrically depicting a character attempting to communicate with a partner who appears to be in an REM state. Following this is an extended outro, circling bass lines and layers of tape manipulation of saxophones and synthesizers, all mixed into rising and falling noise collage.
With the addition of the music video, the song becomes a stage for an absurdist, satanic ‘dinner and a movie’ night in for two. As the story develops, the characters fall asleep in front of their TV and the room appears to be possessed, sending them into a shared fever dream: six parts flirty, six parts food fight, six parts freak-a-zoid.
The video starts like a short film, equipped with acting and dialogue. It then continues into the song, only to interrupt and find its way back in the realm of narrative. On a surface level, the set, characters, makeup and feel take inspiration from late ’70s/early ’80s art punk films like Jubilee and Liquid Sky, but aims to feel more like one of those unloved, horribly awesome cult movies in the weird section of Movie Madness. Or better yet, a late night public access TV freak out you forgot you watched but somehow became part of you. Overall, the music video is a layered psychedelic journey, celebrating weirdo art and offering something further from the original lyrical story.