Charly, Thomas, Pho, and Pitchin makeup the French electronic group “Dirtyphonics.” Since 2006, the group has been releasing chart-topping music including a slew of 12” releases including, “French Fuck,” “Quarks,” and, “The Secret.” In addition, the band has gone on a world tour, which took over four months to complete and spanned the continents of Europe, Asia, and Australia. Recently, the band released a remix of Krewella’s, “Killin’ It.” I had an opportunity to listen to the track, and found the music a little hard to keep up with.
The track begins by immediately plunging the listener into a noise collage with the only constant element being a four-chord synth line repeating itself over and over again. At 30 seconds, a hectic drum beat kicks in along with a bouncy synth line, grounding the music only slightly. A moment later, a female vocalist enters telling listeners to “get down and lick the dust,” amongst other strange and/or sexual suggestions. Then, at 1:13, the music falls into a dubstep bass drop, driven by lightning fast synth snare-drum tapping. At two minutes, the dub bass line is fragmented and the drum beat takes center stage, shifting the feel of the tune into more rock and roll than EDM. Just when you think the music is reaching a plateau, there’s another bass drop at 2:30, but this time the drum beat is much heavier and slower, suddenly turning the track into an aggressive headbanger. Finally, the music mellows into a queasy atmospheric soundscape, featuring a melodica floating lazily in the background, and the quick playful synth line up front again. After a few thuds of the bass drum, the song gently bursts into nothingness.
This track is a lot to handle, and it’s defiantly going for this approach. Admittedly, it’s very hard to just sit and listen to it, because there’s just so much information to process. Regarding my personal tastes, I found the music was too in-your-face the whole time. There’s no subtlety whatsoever, and I feel like that made the music feel superficial. More specifically, this track doesn’t lend itself towards any emotional experience besides THIS IS INTENSE!!!! And that’s fine and all for clubs, but sitting in your room, hardcore dubstep like this just doesn’t really cut it.
Beyond this, I feel like this track beckons the question: Does music striving solely for intensity really offer any artistic value? I mean, if you give me a sample board and an amp I can certainly throw a million different sounds at an audience for an hour and a half claim that I’m making music, but is that really true? In the end, I feel like the real value of a piece of music can be judged by how one feels after they listen to it. That is, if a track or an album makes one feel anything at all, whether it be angry, sad, or disturbed even, then it may be considered subjectively successful. But if all a song does to someone is leave them with a stomach ache and a hangover, similar to Dirtyphonic’s remix of “Killin’ It,” I’m not so sure anything was really accomplished at all.