Thursday, March 19, 2015

Live Review - Death Grips - Jenny Death


Oh my god it's actually here, it's actually finally happening at long last. It's been 284 days since niggas on the moon, and we've passed through every imaginable auspicious occasion, from full moons to Friday the 13ths to anniversaries. I'm going to attribute today being the day to the fact that I saw my friend Jenny last night. Seems as good a reason as any.

And this is cool too, I guess - did you know this is my 50th live review? That's a landmark, sorta. And it feels nice to give it to my most reviewed artist - as of this review, I'll have looked at four Death Grips albums with this silly format, having previously looked at niggas on the moonNo Love Deep Web, and Government Plates.

In a lot of those reviews, I said something like "I don't know how people can claim to be bored of modern music with Death Grips around", but... I guess that's all ending here, isn't it? Although their breakup could be easily just another devilish bit of DG mischief, it's just as likely that this really is the last music we'll ever hear from them. It's a little sad, it feels like the world got a little less exciting...

Even the saga of this album coming to an end is bittersweet. For 284 days, a cult around it has been steadily swelling in size and degeneracy on /mu/ and I'm sure other places. The band's guerrilla attitude towards typical cycles of promotion and distribution - there are far too many examples of this to enumerate - really made any theory seem possible. Added to an aesthetic that shifted enough to make any fake leak seem plausible, the hype around Jenny Death seemed to necessitate insanity. Between this and Kendrick Lamar, and Kanye looming on the horizon, I feel like /mu/ is going to be subject to a shitstorm perhaps entirely unprecedented. But before we get to all that, I'm going to take an hour and calmly enjoy what precludes and justifies and ultimately drives all of this insane hypemachine: the music itself.

Death Grips - Jenny Death
Live Review

1. I Break Mirrors With My Face In The United States
I remember when the name of this track leaked and I loved it then and I love it now and wow here we go with that DHueejIOEhdEO Hahaha yessssss he's just shouting the title, I love this, I love the synths, OMG the drums are so fast and dense and deep, oh man Ride is on his completely insane flow. "I don't care about real life!", haha mc ride is an otaku. The rhythms on this are deranged and awesome. I can't help but picture the stupid stepchart. The density and fullness of the sound is fantastic. Okay wow. I am pretty stunned atm. The end feels demonic and lurching. *

2. Inanimate Sensation
This was a single but I never listened to it because spoilers. This sounds like a little kid's racecar sounds. WOAH, the way it switched at 0:15 was pretty sweet, you like, suddenly fall into it, into his mind, his delusions. Like now you're in the little kid's race car. Woah those drums are so HEAVY, my arms hurt just hearing them. Jeeeeezus. I love the way he overenunciates certain sounds, like, the Ss and stuff. There seems to be a focus on performance signification? Oh but as soon as I said that we're on some ambient stuff OH MAN HIS VOICE IS SORTA SCARY. "I'm not with you!" brought out loud and clear. Onion, layers? Is this Shrek?? Le Shrek meme??? At 3:20, this effect is almost cartoonish, it's self-parodying within itself, within this first expression. And I have no idea what he's saying lol. I'm sure they posted the lyrics somewhere, or they will when the album comes out. "SO NOIDED in CALIFORNIA", nice. "Running through your level like Mean Mr. Mustard"? Huh? "Skinhead, skinhead", more evidence for the "Death Grips is mad because Kanye ripped them off on Yeezus" people lmao. Yes, there are many of those people, or at least they post a lot on /mu/. Crazy. *

3. Turned Off
I like how it's called Turned Off but it super foregrounds the electrical feedback of the guitar. Also this is just like, straight up rock and roll lol. Wahatwhatabaha haha nevermind. I got tricked. omg smoking cigarettes in the shower what an idea omg. Oh maaaan, the way it fell into the groove there, and then samples from way back on Exmilitary, geeeeeez. "If I don't get off, I don't know how to become", oh man, this is big crashing comet sorta music. The "Mommy!" was so intense. "I drop liquid, red light district", wow. And the laughing. Wow. How does it feel like the moment off impact the entire time? It feels like a crash that crashes into itself. This is like... I want to wild tf out. In any way I can imagine. This sounds like pcp might feel like I think. *

4. Why A Bitch Gotta Lie
AHhhh. Real schizo stuff now. I feel like these guys listened to To Be Kind, I mean that in a complimentary way, obviously. And now we're into another staticky noisy intense rock jam AND THEN ROBOT NOISES? Real evil sounding robot voices wow. I love this effect lol. And then the "why a bitch gotta lie?", Jesus. OMG they did the thing with the robot voice that i LOVED in old DFA1979 stuff, where it shifts up in semitones and then full tones. That effect is so amazing and I have no idea. Wow the way it quiets down around 2:30 is a sort of mastery of song structure that I honestly didn't realize they had. Wowwowowoww. Hahahaha this is so awesome, this is so crazy. And then at 3:40, a whole new sound, just for a second... Yes they did the robot voice shift again. The voice sounds a lot like the one in Ikaruga lol. I wonder if they're aware. **

5. Pss Pss
LOL what? This reminds me a lot of something but I don't remember what, that wobbly sound. An old AnCo song or something. I love the skittering drums - HAVE A SAD CUM, BB, still prolly one of their GOAT lines. This is gonna sound AWESOME after notm, I prolly should have listened to that again right before. Psssssssss, pssssssssssss, psssssssssssssssssss. Hahaha, it really sounds like they're having fun too, right? Oh man that sound, where do I recognize it from, this is gonna bug me lol. "You're one of those things I never rewind", what could this mean? HAHAHA they did the airhorn, they're having so much fun and so am I. "I fuck it out and I dip", on that Young Thug philosophy. Pss pss, pss pss, pss psss.... hahahahahahaaha. The rhythm they're getting into now around 2:40 is nuts, with the highly rhythmic and the swelling "racecar" sorta noises. "If I was her and she was him we'd go and fuck ourselves again, and again", lol what. "Drop you like acid see you trip", haha. this song is pretty disgusting lol. classic DG. Okay awesome. *

6. The Powers That B
Title track get hype here we go what the heck idk something is happening ahhhh. spaceship sounds. oooh, so sinister. Like a death  ray sorta thing. "I can't know what I'm bout to do", that's godly. Holy crap that escalated so nicely. So shocking. "I GOT THE POWERS THAT B"! omg. Wow the snares that blend into sharp bullets of sound, I love that. The way he says "B", omg. "My favorite colour is oh my god bitch" haha what?? Haha what is even happening anymore. "Get fucked with the physical world", DFA shoutout??? This is intense, this is "bumpin!", or something, I don't know. Oh man the fast drums at 4:00 make me so happy. "You wanna check my pocket for the powers that b", is... it money? Man I don't even know anymore. There's a whole 'noided system of logic that I am not privy to. Oooh this outro is nice, the swelling sounds. "Sterilize white flag", what does it mean. These songs are so packed. *

7. Beyond Alive
And then right back into it wow this album is relentless and intense. Wow the guitar tone here is cool, this really feels like a garagey sorta jam. And it almost sounds like a solo being played in the upper register. Surreal. The drumwork is so godly. It has everything that ever appealed to me about the sort of rock music they're pseudo-aping and pseudo-just sincerely playing. Wow at 2:40 they introduce a distortion in a really cool way. "Cowards, we know what you are!", so intense... WOwwwww the drums, so raw, so intense... And omg like... "I'm having seizures, in my sac", aaaaaaaaa... The way he enunciates "cowards" is so perfect, so aggressive. Everything sounds like a war between him and the listener. I love it. And oh man at 5:00, this shift is so perfect, a complete recontextualizing of all the song's energy. This is so cool I don't even know what to do. It feels like I should be screaming or something. The ending is super wonky but in a way I'd never think I'd use that word. **

8. Centuries Of Damn
Hahaha this title man I have no idea. "Daylight sucks", oh okay. Oh man this riff, like, where does something like that come from? This swelling and blooming attack?? Jesus I can't even really think anymore. I have something that's like a nonpainful headache. "I love you so much", I MUST have misheard that lol. "I'm triple the motherfucker", "I step like Legolas Lizard"? I have to look up these lyrics. "These days I only wake up third of the way"... wow... there's a strange sentimentality to these songs? Am I crazy? Oooh wow the drums, Zach Hill going completely wild, drumming until he has to go the hospital for blood loss prolly. And then it sounds like if BoC took a bunch of MDPV and tried to make a song like Aquarius. uh huh yup that's the metaphor I'm sticking with. HAhahahaha wow this was a good one. **

9. On GP
Wow the fullness and density of the guitar is awesome. Wow this really just sounds like a rock song in a genre I like but forgot about (perhaps "real punk"). WOw wwow yes the drums okay yes go go keep going in please never stop going in. The transitions on this album are really on point, the sections of intense and diminished energy, and the feeling of continual escalation. An amazing ability to know how to structure a rock song. Omg at 1:30, this is an ORGAN?????? OMG. this almost makes me want to cry and i don't know why. it's so haunting, so haunted. this is a legendary sort of breakdown. "Wonder what the fuck I do? Listen up ya nosy bitch" hahaha he tricked me. This verse is GODLIKE omg. Does on GP mean Government Plates? Cause he never rapped this much over the whole album lol. "You're on your way"... The drum work is too good to be real, I think Zach Hill is a drumming robot from the future. Another crazy intense verse over a breakdown... "I'd do it all again, I'd make that decision". "For you, on GP"... This is like... omg... Whether or not they actually broke up, I think they made this fully expecting it to be the last album. I really can't believe there's another track after this, I feel like it has to be some sort of Magic Window thing lol. ***

10. Death Grips 2.0
LIKE: THEY'RE GETTING BACK TOGETHER? Never have I heard the "flipping channels" sound with so much aggressiveness. OMG. This really feels 2.0... like a level up. Like Death Grips Kai. Aghhhhjhhhhjhjjjhhjjjjhhh this is too crazy. This is relentless. This is the same sort of pattern as on notm but now the aesthetic is all different and it has this album's context. This feeling of super aggressive spamming of sounds unlike anything else on earth. Is this one just instrumental? I think that's fine, he couldn't have topped the On GP performance I think. This'd make a good stepchart in the like 22-ish range lol. It feels like the band has just mutated and evolved and now is just running off into the moonlight, leaving all of us behind it. Like how Mother 4 is real life. Death Grips 2.0 is a band we don't get to hear. Or something. I have no idea. It's the last 20 seconds, perhaps of Death Grips ever. Goodbye. It was good. You made some really good albums. *

Okay what can I even say about that?
I'm stunned. After the experimental, all-electronica, "spastic man with Bjork sample pad" niggas on the moon, Death Grips jumped right back to their core, or like... even more core than Exmilitary, y'know? Like this sounds like the sort of music they made before Exmilitary: Hanging out in a garage, jamming, playing whatever they felt like, MC Ride shouting whatever came to mind. This is the roots. They're having fun. They're getting things off their chest. Alongside disc one, this album becomes unimaginably powerful.

And throughout the album, there's this growing sense of... sentimentality, of finality, of completeness. Whether or not they're actually broken up, I have no doubt that they recorded this with the sense that it was the final thing they'd do together. There's a real sense of nothing being held back. It isn't about the reputation at this point. It's about making the music they had to make.

I never ever could have thought they'd make a record like this. I didn't realize just how much they understood the sensibilities and the appeal of classic rock structures and aesthetics. I never realized how much I liked them.

I never understood just where the appeal of MC Ride's voice came from. It was never about rapping. I never got the instrumentation until now. It was never about beats.

I'm sorry, that's the only sort of thing I can say about this now.

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