Producers/performers Erik Blood and Ishmael Butler had a long history of working together in Butler's warped hip-hop group Shabazz Palaces by the time they debuted their Knife Knights project in 2018. Working in similar off-kilter tones as Shabazz Palaces, the creative team employed highly experimental production and an arsenal of twisted synth and drum machine sounds to create songs that merged ambient atmospheres with fragmented elements of rap and R&B. Working in several studio sessions between Butler's tours and other commitments, the duo and a host of guest musicians completed their debut album 1 Time Mirage. The album saw release in September of 2018 on Sub Pop.
Seattle-area musicians Ishmael Butler and Erik Blood met in 2003 — Blood was already a fan of Butler's work in the jazzy hip-hop legends Digable Planets. The two became friends and when Butler launched his Shabazz Palaces project in the late 2000s, Blood was on board early on, assisting with mixes and production. The two worked together on much of the Shabazz Palaces discography, cultivating a creative partnership in which they tempered and complemented each other's impulses to take hip-hop into more experimental territory. After years of working together, the two solidified their sound with Knife Knights, a project that began in the studio but soon branched out to live performance. Recording in fits and starts, Butler and Blood worked on songs for a debut album with collaborators Porter Ray, OCNotes, Marquetta Miller and others, eventually completing the songs that would make up 1 Time Mirage. The album was released on Sub Pop in September of 2018 with a note in its credits that stated, "Time Mirage is 1 of 7." ~ Fred Thomas