Monday, 27 August 2012

Death Grips - The Money Store


Zach Hill's future-esque project is only a few years old, yet has all the notoriety and widespread fanbase 'Hella' could only dream of. Last years 'Exmillitary' was welcomed with open arms by the hip-hop/industrial community. Ever since Charles Manson 'introduced' listeners to Death Grips on the opening track 'Beware', people were gripped. From track one, Death Grips were sticking around for quite some time. Exmilitary was only a mixtape. It was given away for free on their website. Only one year has passed since Exmilitary, and a record deal with Epic has funded Death Grips 2012 projects. Fans await the fall release 'No Love Deep Web' because of how rich 'The Money Store' is.

The flaccid industrial beats of Exmilitary have re-formed into a synthesizer frenzy of layers and intense drumming. The production of The Money Store is on a different level to Exmilitary. 'Get Got' has a thumping distorted beat and a bitter percussion section with a messy synth which becomes rather accessible after a few dynamic changes. The moments of synth reverberation add a whole new dimension to Death Grips. Vocalist MC Ride delivers a plain and bitter vocal. He never sounds clear, it's always partially distorted and dissonant. His voice sounds smooth amongst all the skips and glitches. Get Got serves as a brilliant introduction as to whats to come, surpassing their mixtape massively in the process.

'The Fever (Aye Aye)' is just as intense as Get Got. A common theme throughout The Money Store is anger. The forceful and intense instrumentals are backed up by MC Ride's loud and in your face vocal. He shouts down the mic with delay on his vocal. The quiet and out of timed 'aye aye' fits in nicely. Death Grips manage to fit everything into a three minute track, giving them power. The utilize production techniques and synthesizers to create this magnificent sounding track. The synth loops on the 'chorus' are innocently catchy. The horn sirens and odd soundscape segments are delicious; I'm swallowing it all up.

There's plenty of things to take in on The Money Store. 'Lost Boys' is remembered due to it's off beats and didgeridoo sounding instrumental. The vocals aren't as strong as previous tracks, but that's not to say they're weak. The repetition of , "lost boys, lost boys, lost boys" works. Everything goes together like a jigsaw puzzle. All the pieces are present, they're all jagged... And they always fit together in the end, The Money Store is that jigsaw puzzle. Every piece of instrumentation sounds different to the previous. Even MC Ride's vocal changes and progresses with time. 'Blackjack' has a creepy drum section, with a dance frenzy with the Moog synth sounds. The samples and sound manipulations give Death Grips the killer shot. 

'Hustle Bones' uses a repeated regurgitated female vocal as the tracks chorus section. The verse segments have heavy soundscapes and hard hitting drumming which has brilliant textures. You don't notice it at first, but the percussion moments in the background are unique and fresh. The simple sounding bass synthesizer acts as a safe guard to the brilliant production on the drumming. The track ends with the female vocal repetition and slight two second break before one of the best tracks 'I've Seen Footage' resumes. This track utilizes the distorted synthesizers heard in the previous five tracks. The drumming is spacious and the beats set MC Ride up nicely to deliver his best lyrics to date.. "Ambulance hit and run over pedestrian in Brazil. Little tiger, boy soldier. Twist a cap back and kills." The refrain at the end sums up the entire track. Repeating the tracks name in anger and desperation at society.

If The Money Store is anything, It's unpredictable. Here we have 40 minutes of unique sounding instrumentals, which must have taken the production team many sleepless nights to craft. 'Double Helix' doesn't let the album down. Although the sample and beat isn't as gripping as previous, it still sounds fresh and different. The distortion and heavy bass formulate nicely during the verse, with a female vocal sample yet again. Add some reverb and time stretch this sample, and you have something Burial would put his name towards.

Arguably my favourite track on The Money Store is 'System Blower'. The beat progresses, raises, retreats, loudens, hardens, softens and crashes throughout it's entirety. The bass heavy and loud driven synthesizer sounds stunning. The structure is alien, with actual alien-esque soundscapes in between the clear drumming, clear vocal.. And the distorted drumming and fast paced shouting by MC Ride. 'The Cage' continues the brilliant flow of music. There's never a moment to stop and think on The Money Store. Theirs so much music clustered into this album, it's unbelievably compact. The Cage does have clearer MC Ride vocals, but that's not the point. Death Grips isn't about understanding the vocals. They're all about sound and textures and the overall end product rather than the individual pieces. 

A Bollywood sample acts as the base for 'Punk Weight'. This fast paced experimental track takes several sampled vocal sections, manipulates them, adds a large amount of Sleigh Bells-esque distortion and makes it a Death Grips production. It's loud and in your face, just like the rest of The Money Store. 'Fuck That' is an angry, energetic track with more exquisite percussion and a dissonant bass synthesizer. The novelty effect does come in to vision when listening to the later third of The Money Store due to the overall intelligence of this music/the lyrics. Nothing here is mind-blowingly brilliant or long-lasting. It's all rather short, snappy and loud. It's unique in it;s own right, but it's overblown by tracks like Fuck That and 'Bitch Please'. 

To close Death Grips first studio album, they pick one of their strongest tracks to date, 'Hacker'. A lengthy vocal introduction in typical MC Ride style adds to the build-up, with a further few percussion segments before the killer synthesizer and vocal refrain kicks in. We finally have some melody as MC Ride delivers one of his few singing moments with, "I'm in your area. I know the first three numbers. I'm in." All for the listener to be brought back down to Death Grips level with the confusing and out of place "teachin bitches how to swim." What, the fuck... 

Death Grips have surpassed 2011's mixtape. Their chaotic style adds flavour to a wet towel community. The Money Store has everything they could possibly include, with the exception of excessive meaningful lyrics. It's not hip-hop in the traditional sense, it's more of an industrial sounding album than hip-hop. The loud and aggressive shouting by MC Ride is backed by the wall of distorted synths and crazy drum production. The little things count, and on The Money Store everything counts. Improvements can be made, but those improvements won't be made, because then it wouldn't be Death Grips anymore. 
~Eddie

8.9

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