After the rap duo FEMM had undergone an upgrade, there is a lot of talk about the two since they are mannequins with emotions but are more human-like than before. It does somewhat detract from the originality of how they presented themselves before, but it seems that the fans, also known as agents, are rather excited for the new steps these two musicians have taken.
Back in October, fans of mannequin rap duo FEMM puzzled over the meaning of the ‘404 not found’ error message that appeared when accessing their official website. This was followed by weeks of deafening silence from FEMM’s official channels, including the deletion of almost all music videos on their YouTube channel, and then the sudden appearance of their brand-new song Level Up feat. Duke of Harajuku earlier this month including the message that we are dealing with FEMM 2.0. On the 20th of November, FEMM released their new six-song EP – and not surprising, its title is 404 Not Found. What does it exactly mean? Did they get an error while upgrading? What it doesn’t mean is that the two musicians stopped making music. With the release of the EP, they also released a trippy music video of the catchy song Peach, to hype it all up even more.
As the cherry on top of it all, the group decided to work with Weirdcore, a regular collaborator with Aphex Twin, for this video. Resulting a the video features stylized old-school 3D computer graphics, recreating the two members of FEMM as dancing avatars with hair and makeup inspired by peaches and cream, as referenced in the lyrics, on roller skates and dressed as waiters, against a psychotropic background.
Back to the EP. The members of FEMM disclosed that they chose the title for the EP to suggest brand-new music that doesn’t exist (yet), no matter how hard you search for it, and thus the error message ‘404 Not Found’. Does this mean that the dark-pop music of FEMM can be seen as not brand-new? Or can we see it as a sort of rebellious message towards the music industry? The answer to this question, might be different for every person listening to the newly released EP. And perhaps we should not take it too literally.
The EP itself is a roller coaster with a diversity of tracks on which FEMM seems to be looking out for the viewers not to get overheated by cooling down after a heavy beat. Toughness and danceability are terms that can be linked to this release but the sprinkles of silliness cannot be forgotten. Bury Me (with all my $$) just feels like a terrifying horror movie that confuses you with the duo’s chilled beats and raps. It is sure a trip!
For the EP, the duo has worked with many well-known names such as Japanese trackmakers YUA and Diana Chiaki, HABANERO POSSE and KM, in addition of Duke of Harajuku. And then also mentioning Radical Hardcore Clique, who are seen as the pioneers of the Japalanta genre that blends traditional Japanese music and trap. While keeping most of those collaborations in Japan, there have been interesting collaborations with the Dutch producer Star Boy and Danny L Harle from the London-based label PC Music. Throwing those names around doesn’t say much, until connections get tossed in. While Star Boy has produced work for American rappers DaBaby and Lil Uzi Vert, Danny L Harle has produced music for Charli XCX and Rina Sawayama, which makes it all an interesting melting pot of tunes, vibes and beats. 404 Not Found does feel otherworldly, but that is maybe just quite fitting for a mannequin rap duo.
Tracklist 404 Not Found
01. Sit Down (producer: HABANERO POSSE)
02. Bury Me (with all my $$) (producer: YUA)
03. Peach (producers: Danny L Harle / Radical Hardcore Clique)
04. Play By The Rules (producer: Diana Chiaki)
05. Boss (producer: KM)
06. Level Up feat. Duke of Harajuku (producers: Star Boy / Loesoe / Radical Hardcore Clique)