Monday, 26 August 2013

Track Review: Death Grips - Birds


Hella's star percussionist, who also helped Marnie Stern reach female icon status, has been representing a third of Death Grips since their creation in 2010. Zach Hill's experimental hip-hop idea was nothing more of a conversation in 2010, but now after three year of continued success, the trio of Hill, Flatlander, and MC Ride have taken over the minds of the young electronic / hip-hop fan base. Like Tyler, The Creator has done, Death Grips have engineered a white middle class audience. There's no political imagery behind the music of Death Grips, there's no 'fuck you' to other artists. They're quite simply an abrasive electronic outfit.

It seems too corporate with Death Grips.  They signed to a major record label, and then released a spectacular album last year - The Money Store. Death Grips promised fans two albums in 2012, so when EPIC Records decided to hold back NO LOVE DEEP WEB for a 2013 release, the shit hit the fan. Without consent, Death Grips leaked their sophomore album themselves. It was a big 'fuck you' to EPIC Records, and a 'fuck you' that left Death Grips without a record label. Though, why they signed to a major label in the first place really goes against the fundamental principles of independent creative freedom. They must have known EPIC wanted to dictate them, there are countless examples of artists being relieved when they're out of contract, that should have persuaded Death Grips. The curse of money, career, and a future was too great for Hill and co to turn down - well it all backfired, or was it all just one planned publicity stunt.


NO LOVE DEEP WEB was a let-down. It was without hype, but with a story. The EPIC Records proceedings outweighed the musical content on NO LOVE DEEP WEB. It wasn't worth the major label loss. They just wanted to keep a promise, fair do's. Death Grips are in this special category of artists, I like to call it the spoon fed group. It includes Radiohead, Death Grips, and Kanye West. Basically, anything they release turns to gold. It could be a recording of Kanye on the toilet, and it would be the greatest musical experiment, of all time. Death Grips have a dedicated fan base that will swallow up anything the trio has to offer, without questioning, without thought - this is what I’m trying to convey.

"Birds" will be a potential suitor for Hill's upcoming feature film project. Grips do have a third album prepared, with a label (subsidiary of UMG) signed up to help them release it under their own label Third Worlds. This track, much like NO LOVE DEEP WEB, sounds lost. What's really going on behind closed doors in the Death Grips camp? The creative process is so vague. They have cancelled tours in the past, and recently not showed up to planned shows. Flatlander, who knows? Is he in jail? Or just a recluse. None of this is helped by the bands constant Facebook propaganda and social media outbursts. Nobody is questioning them. Fans take in statements as fact, everything Death Grips have created, said, is taken as face value. "Birds" is the latest track in a long line of repetitious abrasive electronic releases made by the trio. It's without extensive synthesizer work, but far more leaniant on Hill's percussion and MC Ride's confusing vocal. The lyrics, to a British citizen, represent females - birds, as the lad culture call them. There's no real message behind "Birds", just assumptions to what’s going on in MC Ride's head. Amongst all the repetitious: "I Got, I Got," there's some nice instrumental moments. A lovely guitar has been affected, sounding like a singing bird, which is sweet in itself. Other than this, "Bird" passes by without care. It's too slow, there's no power behind the synthesizers. It is however, better than most of NO LOVE DEEP WEB. Questions are raised when Death Grips release new music, only by me it seems. Can they continue releasing mediocre abrasive electronic music to the masses without care? 
~Eddie

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