Fashion Week Album Review
Thirds Worlds Records
Released January 4, 2015
Genre: Experimental Hip Hop, Instrumental Glitch Hop, Industrial, Instrumental Hip Hop
Let’s face it: All Death Grips fans are DYING for Jenny Death to come out, and not just to fully complete the power that b, but to hear the last release from the late experimental hip hop who supposedly “disbanded” in the summer of 2014. But come January 4, 2015, when I’m relaxing and watching How I Met Your Mother reruns, Death Grips decide to drop one of the craziest instrumentals – and albums- of the year (considering the year is only four days old, well six now). It appears that physically, they’re over. However, that won’t stop them digitally.
An instrumental album from Death Grips is exactly what you’d expect: insane beats without MC Ride yelling in your ear. And while that premise takes away from the charm of a normal Death Grips record, Fashion Week isn’t without its perks. Think of Nine Inch Nails’ Ghost I-IV, a vocal-less instrumental release from one of rock music’s most notable groups. While the album took away from the industrial nature of the band, the album provided listeners with a kaleidoscopic view into where the band can go instrumentally. Same goes for Death Grips.For one, the album’s beats are superb, probably some of the best instrumentation that this group has ever put out. But what they lack in vocals, they make up for in sonic instrumentation that, for all their efforts, still continues to enthrall no matter the redundancy.
A big difference from albums like Government Plates or the heralded The Money Store is the lack of electronic dissonance. While the tracks here, cleverly named JENNY DEATH WHEN, are jammed packed with ideas influenced by a broad range of artists from Trent Reznor, Skrillex, punk rock, and even acid house, they are nonetheless some of the most accessible beats that the band has come to deliver. Fashion Week is the most straightforward this band has been, stylistically, and that goes to show how this band has grown since their Exmilitary days.
The synth melody in “Runway Y” sounds like a glossy, 8 bit rendition to The Shining’s Dies Irae, which therefore evokes a satirical look at the aggressiveness that this album “supposedly” may have, considering the band’s track record. Tornado sirens ring about on “Runway A” and “Runway E” (of WHEN) features very atmospheric synths and effects. ‘Runway H” (of WHEN) samples a guitar riff that I’m pretty sure is from Kiss’ “Shout It Out Loud’ and Death Grips stich that with some operatic vocals and heavily distorted base. So while this album can be a bit overwhelming at times, you will no doubt find a variety of sounds and styles, laid over Death Grips’ sonic experimentalism and nature.
Given the release of “Inanimate Sensation” and the lack of MC Ride’s vocals on this LP, Fashion Week is still as adventurous and astonishingly dark as their previous releases. No doubt this album will stand as a big change of pace for the band, but all in all, this linear and straightforward instrumental release has only grown the anticipation for Jenny Death. The songs on here, at the end of the day, have pretty basic structures but some very interesting beats – a jittery, creative, and ambitious release from a very unpredictable band. Yes, some of the rhythms and grooves can be redundant, and maybe some parts can be omitted/added. But with this release, Death Grips prove that they are the most mysterious band out there. Are they done? Or is there more material headed on the way? All I can say is: “JENNY DEATH WHEN?!?!”
PRETTY NEAT MUSIC
FAV TRACKS: Runway J, E, N, N, Y, D, H, W, H, N
LEAST FAV TRACK: Runway T