If you’ve heard of Death Grips by now, there’s likely one thing about them you’ve realized: beyond a shadow of a doubt, they don’t really give a fuck—about anything.
They want you to know this.
In the past year, the disruptive, genre-less trio, consisting of rapper MC Ride, drummer, Zach Hill, and producer Andy Morin, performed a number of instant headline stunts: premiering a dick pic as their third album cover while releasing it as a freeleech; resigning from their contract with the Epic label; and finally, they became notorious for not attending their own concerts (instead playing sets via Skype, or simply leaving a suicide note and playing the music through speakers).
Right now, it’s kind of hard to determine whether they are modern punk masterminds or simply douchebags with a media niche. But in either case, their latest release, Government Plates, is a consummation of various sound experiments in aggressive rave rap, stress, tonality, and rhythm.
While any listener could argue for hours whether the music itself sounds inherently good, there are two things I can mainly guarantee after listening to this album.
One, it will raise your blood pressure and make you feel majorly uncomfortable. And second, it will literally force you to reconsider current composition trends: how electronic production has been steered into such predictable category of drum patterns and buildups (see: Trap, Dubstep). Moreover, Government Plates is the antithesis of what you will find on even a relatively experimental and well-polished DJ station, such as BBC1 Radio–every transition is ravenous, pulsing and paranoid. If I could describe it in one word, it would be nosebleed or rabies.
The first track title, the lengthy “You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it’s your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat” that nods to Dylan, basically summarizes the ensuing entropy of the entire album. It begins with ear-piercing and high frequency synth arpeggios and the line, “Come come fuck apart in here.” It’s essentially a foreshadowing for the rest of the album, in which MC Ride’s schizoid, mind-spitting raps combine with Hall’s electronic and drum-kit inspired rhythms to create something that arguably works. The juxtaposition of sporadic and heavy bass thumps with precise drum fills are used to construct and destruct every song, minute by minute.
The savage energy and vitality of the duo’s craft is most apparent on the songs “Two Heavens” and “Overflow,” especially when Ride screams the line, “fuck your idols, suck my dick.”
The repetitive nature of Ride’s lyricism accomplishes a number of things. After about the first fifty number of “fucks” yelled, you begin to realize that the word loses meaning. Similarly, about halfway through the album’s progression, you begin to realize the rhythms which originally sounded uneasy and dissonant begin to fade into sonic explosions of blissful nonsense. By the end of the album you feel majorly confused, but overwhelmingly affected.
In some ways, Government Plates is like the Rites of Spring of current music production. It’s brutal, cold, minimal, and combines punk and rave/dance music like any arm wrestling match. Moreover, here Death Grips accomplish a masterful feat: unlike Kanye West’s Yeezus, Government features no additional artists, guest collaborators, or third-party producers, yet they still make a strong, well-produced artistic statement.
In an electronic landscape dominated by drops that nearly everyone is now desensitized to, Government Plates injects a much needed life-force into the electronic music’s overplayed habits.
Download the album for free: http://d01.megashares.com/index.php?d01=xven3gx
Or, stream from Soundcloud in its entirety:
Article by Michael Roe