1000 gecs
100 gecs
released 31 may 2019
hyperpop
written 11 jan 2024

There isn't some specific thing that makes outsider, purposefully left-field, or intentionally non-normative art—or perhaps something with some mix of similar elements—inherently interesting or worthwhile; there has to be some other step taken, past simply being outside the status quo of expectations. In that space, a more pointed and modern example that supersedes those concerns cannot be found anywhere better than with 100 gecs.

The two artists comprising, Laura Les and Dylan Brady, are without a doubt alluring figureheads; their artistic posture together, their individual near-decade long history of music to this point, and the crossed paths in St. Louis that led them to the band's formation in the first place, are altogether one of the more compelling narratives for a group's formation. And no single part of their career since has been as all-encompassing of an artistic and cultural moment as the release of their debut album, 1000 gecs.

Both of their uniquely disparate but effortlessly enchanting personalities seep into every track, a mishmash and collage of bubblegum bass, electropop, ska, emo, and digicore—blended together into this blanket microgenre of hyperpop. Their vocals are autotuned into an androgynous, hauntingly electronic emulsion, the bass and drum tones so over-pitched they rattle even at low volumes—and the tracklist's pacing is both at a stutter-step and pushing forward far too quickly. It is, in essence, digital life and internet chaos manifested as musical euphoria.

The first three tracks combine undoubtedly for one of the most forward-thinking expressions on modern life, of fleeting money, debauchery, lifted trucks and masculinity, and being addicted to weed and Monster energy drinks; they simultaneously point at its humorous absurdity, along with the intense, soul-crushing weight of living through it all at the same time. 745 sticky houses about seventeen different ideas for what it wants to be and somehow nails all of them; money machine rails against this imaginary concept that even Laura can't wrap her head around; and 800db cloud closes the set with emotional engrossment and a brutal breakdown with more heart and rage about wanting to smoke weed in peace than there ever has been. They are all both meaningless and effortlessly tactful in their approaches.

I Need Help Immediately as interlude is without a doubt the primary 'misstep' that breaks up the tracklist, even if it is still seemingly necessary to calm down from that aforementioned finisher of 800db cloud. It is simply scrolling through samples, grooves, and beats as a one minute and twenty-two second piece, and despite it containing really nothing of concrete significance, it still shows some endearing level of humanity about the two artists. It cannot be found in the sounds coming from the track mind you, but including it at all is oddly, and touchingly, sincere

And as that track fades we get the wonderful indulgence of stupid horse, a colorful ska-pop cartoon soundtrack to another vague but properly effective scenario; it is simultaneously a dirge of losing a bet at a derby and lashing out, and to a similar extent to 745 sticky a realization of money's use in the world. It's nowhere near the most detailed analysis of that set of emotions, and it may simply be a fictitious scenario played out for itself, but everything the track's brilliantly laden instrumental does feels precise, mirroring the story's frenzy. Beating up the jockey you bet on has to mean something.

Yet another batch of three tracks, bursting with as many styles as the minutes they occupy, follows stupid horse, a set that seems to center all around different emotions about foggy love, transitioning at break-neck between lovesick longing, uneasy standoffishness, intoxicating embraces, and dedication. xXXi_wud_nvrstøp_ÜXXx is that kind of confession of devotion without self-realization perhaps, a back-and-forth from reassurance and hard electronic surges; it makes its blended construction work well, Dylan's interjection after its first spout being yet another good balance to Laura's infectious chorus. ringtone, on what feels like the complete opposite spectrum, is pure infatuation with one of the cutest metaphors for it that can be imagined, its more standard instrumental for the duo matching well with just how pretty the vocals scamper alongside. gecgecgec returns with similarly random interjections as did I Need Help Immediately for its initial minute, splitting away with a bit-crushed brostep jolt towards an epilogue to this set; it is maybe the most relatable, vulnerable moment on the record, of being completely dedicated after an interpersonal actualization. It is a beautiful second minute, Laura's vocals floating effortlessly on the whimsical synths behind her.

Simply to match with every countless event that has taken place in the less-than-twenty-minutes this has lasted so far, hand crushed by a mallet diverges in just the most wild way, representing a personable story from Laura and Dylan about not being taken seriously in a relationship—while also definitely being about a fly trapped in the same room as you. Taken in a vacuum, it's maybe the most overtly simple instrumentally compared to the other magic they pull out of their hats on this curt record, but it does still give a proper dichotomy to the room that it displays. And just as it started, with as many ideas thrown into one beautiful cacophony as it did, gec 2 Ü is a drum-and-bass-laced piece that is maybe the more sincere and realistic depiction of relationships than the wild ride of the previous three-step. The problems piling up as dishes is a simple yet effective metaphor, while still having the perspective in that moment to cherish the partner they're with. It is a flurry that ends in the most ear-crushing way the record ever is for the final thirty-odd seconds, properly encapsulating (or, on the other side of the same coin, refusing to box in) that atmosphere of relationship woes as going hand-in-hand with their highs.

It is not a perfect record by any means by that closing moment, and maybe the most pointed criticism that could be made might genuinely be that it is too short, too of its own lightning-in-a-bottle environment to be even more monumental of a record. In that way, 1000 gecs is almost more renowned for just how enthralling and personable and uniquely charged it is; most of its tracks are certainly great in and of themselves, but the pure ecstasy of it being so self-indulgent in its boundary-pushing, simply by the two masterminds behind it never compromising, is where it shines even brighter. In essence, it was always going to be left-field, funcore pop from an untraceable origin, so putting the entirety of what they did into it was what sold it—from their quirks and emotions, to their sense of self and others through truly well-flipped metaphors.

That, without a doubt, is the greatest objection that can be made to this album being simply ironic thrills, camp as deliberate showing-off, or it having been created simply to shock and alarm; in its own, original way, it is a liberating experience, being both knowingly silly and evidently sincere. It is a meta-modern celebration of the self as an invaluable tool to grow, shape, and develop, even if to too many it is couched in satirical enjoyment. This record is freeing in its articulation, and it is wonderful.

light 4 / 5
created by hand, by nat!

(c) MMXXIII, all rights reserved.