"Nothing is without precedent, but how does one go through life with an increasing breadth of knowledge about the expanding palette of the present without becoming blind to the new when it does pop up?"-- a good question from Tim H Gabriele at 555 Enterprises, although I disagree with "nothing is without precedent": unprecedented things have actually been done in music, and the othersarts, although it is certainly not the only route to the shock of the new, and in the absence of new technology it's much harder to escape precedents.
He continues: "In all
likeliness, the new will never actually be holistically unheard- at
least in the way electronic noises once were, but will rather defy
simple categorization as a proximal amalgamation of reference points.
This is the way P4K often used to review (and still does occasionally),
using the musical past as metrics, ancestry as math- they're the MBAs of
music, finding no problem a calculation or a McKinsey study can't
This is but a throat-clearing before a detailed breakdown of all things he hears as constituents of the Death Grips sound . Of course a group can have a plethora of sources, influences, starting points and unwitting or semi-witting parallels without being "retro" (which implies an element of referentiality and/or reverence).
Tim mentions John Calvert @ Quietus's contention that DG are an exemplary postpunk group, and in amidst JC's litany of late 70s/early 80s forebears, up pops the name Kevin Martin (he wasn't recording during postpunk, but Kev is the most diehard, true-school postpunk-until-he-keels-over chap ever, formed in his fibres by Metal Box etc). And that reminded me that when I first heard Death Grips I felt there was something vaguely mid-to-late Nineties about them... like they were coming out of an aggy-hardhop zone inhabited by Company Flow, Oxbow, and ooh i dunno what else... and as it happens loadsa 90s coordinates pop up in Greyhoos's own little list at Our God Is Speed ("mid-90s Wordsound.... Sensational... the various Scott Hard-produced acts like New Kingdom")
but DG's sound is neither a recapitulation, nor even a straightforward resumption of a path prematurely abandoned... but more like a two steps back, one step forward, three steps sideways...
the fact that they remind so many people of so many different things suggests that they might actually be true originals