1000 gecs
100 gecs
released 31 may 2019
hyperpop
originally written 11 jan 2024
edited & re-published 3 jul 2024

there isn't any specific thing that makes outsider, left-field, or in otherwise non-normative art inherently interesting or worthwhile; in fact there has to be some other step taken, past simply being outside the scope of expectations. within that frame of mind, a more pointed example this century cannot be found anywhere else but here.

the figureheads of 100 gecs, Laura Les and Dylan Brady, with a near-decade history of music to this point, after crossing paths in St. Louis, and slowly hashing out collaborations, exploded in popularity after the release of their debut full-length, 1000 gecs. their effortlessly enchanting personalities are preeminent both in and outside of their work, but in here it's clouded under a mishmash, a collage of bubblegum bass, electropop, ska, emo, glitch pop, digicore... all blended together into this socially defined microgenre. their vocals are distorted into androgynous, electronic emulsions, the bass and drums that surround them so over-pitched they rattle even at low volumes—and the tracklist's pacing is both tripping over itself through retreading and simultaneously moving forward far too quickly. it's internet chaos manifested as musical euphoria, and a great example of sequencing done beautifully right.

the first three tracks, on modern life, fleeting money, debauchery, lifted trucks, postured masculinity, weed and monster energy, point at their own humorous absurdity and the soul-crushing weight of living through and around it. 745 sticky houses about seventeen disparate ideas and somehow nails all of them; money machine rails against an imaginary concept even Laura can't wrap her head around; and 800db cloud closes that introductory segment with emotional engrossment through a brutal breakdown, with more heart and rage about smoking weed in peace than i thought possible. they are all both meaningless and intensely tactful in their approach, like heaven and hell colliding into something both grotesque and awe-inspiring.

I Need Help Immediately as interlude is the primary 'misstep' that breaks up the tracklist, even if it's almost necessary after 800db cloud's painful vocal elegy; even if there's nothing of concrete significance to it, scrolling though samples shows some endearing humanity about the two artists. it isn't found in the sounds you hear in all honesty, but including it at all is oddly sincere.

and it doesn't let up again until record finishes; stupid horse is a colorful ska-pop cartoon soundtrack to another vague but effective scenario, 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. mind you, none of these songs are detailed analyses of these emotions and thoughts, and here it may simply be a fictitious scenario played out for its own sake, but everything laid out feels precise, just like the story's frenzy. beating up the jockey you bet on has to mean something.

xXXi_wud_nvrstøp_ÜXXx into ringtone into gecgecgec feels like another succinct set, centering around foggy love, at break-neck switching between lovesick longing, uneasy standoffishness, intoxicating embraces, and complete dedication. the first is a kind of confession barring self-realization, a back-and-forth between reassurance and hard electronic surges; the second is what feels like the opposing end of the spectrum, of pure infatuation with a really cute metaphor as vocals scamper along; and the third has similar interjections to I Need Help Immediately but then splits into a vulnerable, interpersonal realization in the beautiful second half, Laura's vocals floating on whimsical, bouncy synths.

hand crushed by a mallet is the penultimate divergence, another story from Laura and Dylan about not being taken seriously in a relationship—while also definitely just being about a fly trapped in the same room as you. taken in a vacuum, it's maybe their simplest complete package present, but there's a different type of magic about it that they pull out of their hats, with a proper dichotomy given to the room it displays. and as it started in chaos, gec 2 Ü finishes with a drum-and-bass-laced piece on relationships, on problems piling up as dishes while still having the wherewithal to cherish in that moment who you're with. it's a flurry, ending with ear pulverizing for the final thirty-odd seconds, properly encapsulating (or conversely, refusing to box in) that ethos of relationship woes going hand-in-hand with their zeniths.

so while it's not a perfect record by that closing moment, and maybe its best criticism may genuinely be that it's too short, too content in its lightning-in-a-bottle environment to be even more monumental of an experience. in that way, 1000 gecs is almost more renowned for just how enthralling 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 simply for the sake of two artists trying and never compromising, is where it shines even brighter.

it was always going to be left-field funcore pop from an untraceable origin, so putting their all into it was what sold it, from their quirks, emotions, senses of self, and of learning from others through well-flipped metaphors. that, without a doubt, is the greatest objection to this album simply being (post-)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, of being knowingly silly and still certifiably sincere. it is a meta-modern celebration of the self as an invaluable tool to grow, shape, and develop, even if too many couch it as satirical enjoyment. this album is freeing and wonderful.

flat 4 / 5
created by hand, by nat!

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