From the echo of a lone lighter in the darkness, a monster of dense sound crawls through Grief, the debut track on Earl Sweatshirt’s second album I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, and its video by Hiro Murai translates eerie sonic textures into equally unsettling images.
‘Ain’t been outside in a minute,’ Earl spits, while the video unfolds as if from the perspective of some nocturnal creature that only sees in negative space. There are no bounds. No borders from which to frame the universe of this video. No way to get your bearings. It just emerges from the thick muck, while the backing sound ploughs ahead, like the hollow sweep of Badalamenti’s ambient Twin Peaks score as if Burial had created it.
The longer you watch, the more you’re unnerved. Sucked in. Unsure if you’ll ever make it out. Earl and his crew clearly haven’t, stuck in limbo as x-ray video game characters. ‘I’ve been livin’ what I wrote.’
This is the third outing for Hiro and Earl, who previously collaborated on Chum and Hive, and if anything, this video feels obvious. That is to say, these two are so well matched, much like Hiro’s ongoing work with Childish Gambino, that once you start watching, you’re immediately struck by the inevitability of it all; it’s a perfect visual realisation of what the music calls for. So much that you have to wonder if any other approach could even come close.
I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside drops on March 23, and we can only hope to see Earl and Hiro continue their collaboration with the same brutally haunting momentum as this first release.