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Album Review
Niggas on the Moon

Niggas on the Moon
by Death Grips

Label
Harvest / Third Worlds
Rating

Review Date
2nd July 2014
Reviewed by
Paul Larsen

As bedfellows go, there can be none stranger than Bjork and Death Grips, the experimental hip hop outfit from California. But share a bed they do on Niggas on the Moon, the free download and supposed disc one of an upcoming double album, The Powers That B, rumoured to be released later in the year. However, this is no vanity guest spot for the Icelandic Queen of Weird. Though she appears on all eight of the albums tracks, Bjork is utilised in the same way a vintage drum machine may appear on a modern dance record. Her distinctive voice doesn’t feature so much as suffer - sampled, cut and looped beyond recognition for the vast duration of the record.

None of this should be too surprising for those familiar with Death Grips' unique approach to deconstructed songwriting, but what might raise eyebrows is just how staid it can become by the end of this relatively short release. The inventiveness that featured on 2012’s The Money Store and last year’s Government Plates hasn’t so much diminished as refused to evolve. Like riding the same rollercoaster over and over, the twists and turns that used to thrill have a frustrating sense of familiarity about them.

That’s not to say Niggas on the Moon doesn’t have its flashes of brilliance. The asymmetric stuttering of ‘Black Quarterback’ and ‘Viola’ stand out as more comprehensive tracks musically but as usual, its MC Ride’s inimitable and abrasive lyrics and patterns that keeps the record engaging. It will be side two of The Powers That B that makes or breaks this one.



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