Upon first glance, the pairing of hip-hop revolutionaries Antipop Consortium with lower Manhattan free-jazz piano master Matthew Shipp seems an unlikely combination. However, the fact is this collaboration has been waiting to happen- it is the next logical step in Thirsty Ear Records’ Blue Series. You might even say it’s been nearly a century in the making, a new form born of an awareness of the traditions it springs from as well as a desire to move beyond them. Since their formation, Antipop Consortium has been consciously pushing the boundaries of hip-hop, freeing the form from its standard 4/4 breakbeat traditions. Meanwhile, Shipp in his collaboration with Thirsty Ear as artistic director of the forward-thinking Blue Series, has been combining his free-jazz roots with a new, tighter sensibility, emphasizing the groove on Blue Series releases ‘Nu-Bop’ and the upcoming ‘Equilibrium’. Featuring the trio of Shipp, Parker and Brown, plus Khan Jamal on vibes and Daniel Carter on trumpet, with manipulation and vocal virtuosity from Antipop, Antipop vs. Matthew Shipp redefines both jazz and hip-hop. Even as the Antipop members part ways to pursue various solo endeavors, this unintentional farewell both unifies and departs from the past to deliver the future directly into the present. Look forward, look back. This is that powerful music, Antipop’s High Priest declares. We hope you agree.