Saturday, 16 July 2016

Death Grips "The Money Store" (2012)

Whatever curiosity lead you to this post I'd highly recommend opening a can of worms and giving this record a listen if your open minded with music. I became aware of Death Grips back in 2013 and despite initially not understanding the record I couldn't give it up thanks to the enthusiasm of music critic Anthony Fantano and this video which really helped me understand what the record is about. That video will say so much more about it than I ever could and so I thought id take personal reflection on what this record has done for me musically. Honestly music has never felt quite the same since, this one effected me so much Ive felt my horizons expand and my love of music grow ever since it cracked open for me. That didn't happen for at least ten listens or so, I would take a long walk every day dedicating my focus to it and slowly but surely it started to creak open and reveal its magic. I still find the experience strange as I'm accustom to abrasive, noisy music, perhaps not in the more electronically oriented style though.

In a nutshell Death Grips comes of as erratic, noisy, ugly and dissonant. Off kilt sampling and grizzly waveform rumbling baselines collide between solid percussive grooves with a lot of glitchy sounds splicing into the rhythm. Over the top of it MC Ride shout raps with a ferocity and unchained energy that makes up a huge part of the trios character. MC Ride may be one of the most exciting rappers of this generation, not for slick rhyming patterns or clever word play but for taking a different approach and pushing the boundaries of what is defined as raping. At many times he will sound more Punk than Rap has he shouts his way through songs. Lyrically its similar to Wu-Tang Clan's "free association" rhyme style where sentences don't often form a coherent line of thought but create an atmosphere or scene through its words, "Concussion blinding, not my fault, ankles tied to cinder blocks" for example. His delivery further expresses this artsy approach with free flowing spits that have a knack for a catchy hook yet break freely away from the beat or restriction of the beats tempo.

This knack for a hook is one of the remarkable things about the record, when peeling back the layers of its sound and slowly making sense of it all it becomes apparent that the songs are basically poppy, bouncy and catchy in nature. Loaded with lyrical hooks the accompanying instrumentals are strangely satisfying in their noisiness. The percussion is tight and banging, the core of the beat rocking but always feeling slightly obscured by experimental sampling and dense percussive noises that crop up in certain songs. Its melodic or tuneful value is twisted and distorted in this mess but they still carry the weight a good melody can.

From one song to the next it never lets up and each song here feels like an island, there is no formula or consistency to what can happen, each track is truly unique. "The Fever" and "I've Seen Footage" are the albums party tracks, toning down some of the eccentricities and giving the overall groove and hook more love. "Punk Weight" and "The Cage" get wild with noisy samples and electronic instruments going to extremes, unafraid of peaking the bass to extremes. Its remarkable, all thirteen tracks offer so much wild and eccentric delight to delve into, you could talk about them all endlessly as each track is loaded with oddities that culminate into wild, unchained, banging music. Death Grips are the most exciting band of the millennium and couldn't recommend this album more. Modern classic.

Rating: 10/10