Understanding the symbolic language of Death Grips through Fashion Week and Interview 2016 (long read).


Understanding the symbolic language of Interview 2016 and Fashion Week.Death Grips is known for releasing what fans often perceive as “lesser” instrumental albums between major releases. But what one aspect of these minor projects that is often overlooked is that they form their own unique dialogue and meta-commentary on Death Grips itself.Death Grips is known for being cryptic, which makes us crave them more, a la Daft Punk. They do few interviews, because that would ruin the magic of what they do. And Death Grips is all about magic, from card games, to illusions, to multi-layered production fuckery, and beyond. No one wants to know about the man behind the curtain. That ruins the fun of it. Would it be worth it for Stefan to come out and tell us what On GP is all about? Isn’t it better that we can speculate he loves his father despite the pain he felt at his hand? That dipshits speculate he’s a true Satanist who sacrificed his father to gain Faust-like musical powers?As fans and submissives, we crave the stories of the artists, in order to connect some kind of human essence to the work. Death Grips, as our dominators, want to satiate our desires, but they must also give consideration to protecting their personal lives. After all, John Lennon got shot. What we get instead is not a compromise, but a continuation of the Death Grips concept of “no lateral movement.” They do so by introducing contradictions to the concept of what a “Fashion Week” and interview are.Let’s take Fashion Week first. It was released in the build up to Jenny Death. Fans were dying for the album to come out, like they were being teased and edged. Fashion Week, despite its title, has no visual element, save the petite Japanese girl looking at us uninterested. Her cut-off stockings reveal her thighs and make us lust after her, preying on our demographics’ obsession with Asian aesthetics due to the proliferation of Japanese and Korean beauty through the Internet, games, and music.Asian women are often exoticized and fetishized as being submissive. This is one of the main appeals they hold for lost and dejected Western men who feel a lack of power and direction by capitalist forces which rob them of opportunity while simultaneously equating their worth to a narrow hyper-masculine standard. Because the cerebral and emotional power of Asian women is readily accessible through the Internet, and because these women can’t confront their objectification openly, it allows a safe window for us to fantasize about “acquiring” them and dominating them for the sake of social status, thereby subverting the lack of self-worth we internalize due to patriarchal hegemony.This is where Death Grips starts to subvert expectations. As stated previously, this is not a visual album. It’s a cock tease. The submissive Asian woman is turned into a dominatrix, in the vein of the authoritarian Yoko Ono, knowing we want Jenny Death, wiggling it under our nose through the track listing, denying it to us by gagging Ride and removing his presence from the record. Thus we are tantalized, but not satisfied. Thus we take masochistic pleasure in the object of our fantasies denying us what we want.There is a second layer to this commentary. Fashion models often wear all sorts of revealing outfits and are paraded to an audience that may look down on them as whores. This Asian girl is sexy yet uninterested in us. Her “catwalk,” so to speak, includes whip-cracking bangers that pound us with industrial force. She reminds us that she is in control, and that we have no choice but to listen to her. She turns our eardrums into our runway, pounding on them with stilettos, maybe. We will never fuck her. It’s a bold feminist statement.In contrast, we get the visual project Interview 2016, which forms its own dialogue in response to Fashion Week, though it’s not immediately obvious how. Most importantly, there is a joke here. Whereas Fashion Week was an album about fashion that had no imagery, Interview is an Interview with no spoken words. And we are still denied Ride. This is its own form of orgasm control, but in a masculine context.It’s important to note that Interview exists as a video, not as an album. Which is why it wasn’t released as one until later. The whole purpose of the Interview as an art project is to attempt a blending of mediums never seen before — journalism with live music. There is another interesting dimension of it only existing late into Death Grips’ careers, with the interview being a virgin to their music. This, in a sense, reboots our tolerance to Death Grips, and allows us to experience them “newly” through someone else’s perspective. This doesn’t just breach a fourth wall, it creates a fifth dimension.The most interesting element of The Interview though, in my opinion, is the construction of an audio-sonic vocabulary. When listening to music by itself, the band performing it could look like anything. The Interview provides us with a frame of reference to “see” Death Grips in the music from then on, if we so choose. For instance, there is a segment where Ride screams, and a chopped up bark is sounded instead. What this means for us as listeners is that whenever we revisit Death Grips and hear about dogs, the symbol of Ride as being dog-like is reinforced, and he receives the associations Death Grips made regarding them.It means that whenever certain musical elements are repeated during certain visual segments, we will recall them when something similar happens while listening to other parts of Death Grips’ music. That layers the visuals in a way that contrasts Interviews’ intensity with the often silly tricks Death Grips shows in their videos, such as a shoe being turned into a mouth then a pendulum. Death Grips accomplishes this through the use of motion. Music creates dynamic interest through contrasting movement in the interacting harmonic lines. The Interview shows us many different kinds of motion through camera angles and spinning. These visuals are offered up as suggestions to recall when we hear similar parts of Death Grips’ music from then on.We can learn two things from the interaction of Fashion Week against Interview. One, it’s that Death Grips uses masculine energy to assert feminine dominance, drawing on themes established since the Money Store through allusions to Abraxas. Secondly, it’s that they will give us what we want, but when they want to, firmly positioning us as the submissive listener, drawing on themes of BDSM. Thirdly, they establish who they are really isn’t important, and the truth is probably more boring than their magic tricks. What they want us to value is the way they entertain us is, like a fuck buddy. Lastly, through the laid-back and optimistic ending of the Interview, coupled with the fact that we got not just Jenny Death, but a double album with Triggers on the Moon, they show us that they want us to have fun.Please rewatch the Interview video. It’s brilliant. If you liked this analysis, check me out at https://ift.tt/2TO3Yg7. Warning, my blog is VERY not safe work. It's filled with hentai and feminist shit. via /r/deathgrips https://ift.tt/2PUgjkR

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