From a band who used the image of cult hero and drummer Zach Hill’s erect penis for the cover of NO LOVE DEEP WEB, Death Grips’ latest surprise album perhaps shouldn’t surprise us. The track list, when read together spells out ‘J-E-N-N-Y D-E-A-T-H W-H-E-N’, presumably a reference to the upcoming release of the second part of their double album The Powers that b. Unsurprisingly, this loud and messy aesthetic very much encapsulates the sounds of Fashion Week.
Despite the fact that this is an instrumental album, the boot-to-the-face drumming of Zach Hill and the deranged metallic synth-driven beats ensure that this remains a balls-out Death Grips release, although the lack of MC Ride’s bare-chested howling does detract from the record. Yet, this does highlight certain aspects of the bands sound that otherwise might be cloaked in MC Ride’s shadow, as well as indicating a number of directions the band could take with Jenny Death.
The first ‘Runway H’, comes across like classic Death Grips noise-vomit, but filtered through the sludgy synth work of Trent Reznor and more recently The Haxan Cloak. ‘Runway Y’’s use of clanking, industrial-tinged bass and clean, cold synthesizer is reminiscent of some of the more experimental Grime instrumentals from producers like Murlo and Dark0. Most refreshing, however, are the truly unexpected tracks. The first ‘Runway N’ is perhaps the most light-hearted track Death Grips has ever produced, with pitched-up shouts and lazer synths underpinning a J Dilla-esque organ-led hip hop beat. The most unusual track, ‘Runway Y’, is also the most exciting. Like Fashion Week as a whole, it’s fucking nuts, wears its significant flaws on its sleeve but ultimately remains in keeping with Death Grips “nothing sacred, nothing serious” sonic manifesto.