Monday, 3 February 2014

Deathgrips - No Love Deep Web

Ah, Deathgrips.  So hyped, so hated or beloved, so divisive, so potentially, stomach churningly pretentious, but then somehow the 3edgy5me, "lol let's put a penis on the cover" aesthetic fades into the background and the unique, actually genuine approach to music begins to emerge and make one forget all the "bullshit", the fashion statement, the "too punk to show up at their own show" shit, all that stuff, and that's remarkable in itself.

So, let's approach this album a bit differently.  I don't think it needs the same kind of track-by-track that I gave the last album, I'll mention a few tracks that stand out, but the overall aural aesthetic of the album is congruous and flowing enough to not need to mention every track individually.

There are a couple (read several) factors that will turn people right the fuck off of this album.

  • The dick cover
  • The pretentious ideals of the group in general
  • The dick cover
  • MC Ride's signature angry hobo punk rap vocals
  • The di- alright, you get it
  • The droning buzzy bass
  • The electronic hyper processed beats
  • The way the whole things sounds put together
Now you'll notice some of that is in red.  This is because those points are exactly why I love this album and Deathgrips in general.  MC Ride looks and sounds like a drugged up hobo that by all means should be wearing an "THE END IS COMING" sign and standing in Times Square hollering in the same voice he uses on the album.

You gon get raped
Who took my coat?
Ride has 3 "egos" that he uses in general, talking Ride, hollering hobo Ride (the majority of the vocals), and drunk Ride.  Some of these are superimposed over each other and though an unexperienced listener may not understand what the fuck is being said at any point of time, Ride actually implements a LOT of the "maintstream rap" repeat stuff until one can remember it after a single listen lyrical work intertwined with incredibly disillusioned, complex, and rife with reference material that kind of says "hey, if you're into us you can figure out what I'm talking about, if you're not that interested you can remember it's [the song with the catchy hook]."  If you really get into the music though, both of those aspects become equally important.  Like a LOT of good music Deathgrips' material, especially on this album, sound like a wall of noise coming at you and you can either get out of the way or try to figure it out.  Once one can conquer the "wall", however, the subtle genius of the album appears.  This is utterly inaccessible music with an incredibly accessible format for both the beat and the lyrics.  This is rap-cubed - hypercomplexified and yet incredibly standard at the same time.  There isn't much separating the format of the lyrics and "rapping" from much more mainstream material other than the incredibly dirty presentation and dark electronic buzzy beat finish.  Once one listens to a bunch of this stuff one realizes that it really isn't as "out there" as some might think.  This is rap taken to one of its logical conclusions, exaggerated electronics, exaggerated vocal intensity, exaggerated raw production, like I said, rap-cubed.

Let's talk about some of the songs now.  The album opens with one of the more definitive tracks on the album, "Come up and get me", which sets the pace, tone, and aesthetic expectation for the album perfectly.  "No Love" is a baseball bat beatdown of a rap track, whose memorable and repetitive hook balance and complement the grinding, buzzy bass beat.  This is one of the "anthem" tracks on the album, one that fans will groove to.  "Whammy" picks up the pace and is one of the quicker tracks on the album, also containing a lot of repetitive samples and hooks.  One of the more "catchy" tracks for sure.  "Stockton" isn't a far cry from some much more traditional "gangsta rap" offerings and lends some of the "street cred" aspect to the album, IMO.  "Artificial Death in the West" is a great track to end the album with, much more subdued and low profile than every other track on the album.  This track prominently features "talking Ride" with only samples of "hobo Ride".  This is by far the most calm track on the album, almost over simplified in its production.  I hate to make Radiohead comparisons two reviews in a row, but the beat in this one has a lot of Kid A nostalgia for me for some reason, maybe just how I'm thinking about it right now, I don't know.  Either way, the album carries the same kind of raw, buzzy, street feeling throughout and only minorly deviates in either direction aurally.

Don't have much else to say about it right now, other than it's worth checking out if you're a fan of rap, raw productions, great beat work, or (relating to the last point) the work of Zach Hill in Hella, which is a great electronic act btw.

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