thu 28/01/2021

Albums of the Year 2020: A G Cook – 7G | reviews, news & interviews

Albums of the Year 2020: A.G. Cook – 7G

Albums of the Year 2020: A.G. Cook – 7G

A mammoth 49 song post-post-modern riot of sound

Keeping it opaque

2020 marks the year when the PC Music label’s influence became undeniable. It’s easy to forget that, founded by A.G. Cook in 2013, it was once at the centre of a mini culture war. The label’s refusal to distinguish “between high and low, between Burial or Britney” felt exciting to some, but contemptuous to others.

2020 marks the year when the PC Music label’s influence became undeniable. It’s easy to forget that, founded by A.G. Cook in 2013, it was once at the centre of a mini culture war. The label’s refusal to distinguish “between high and low, between Burial or Britney” felt exciting to some, but contemptuous to others. In retrospect, journalists’ comparisons to “Japanese tween pop of the distant future played through JD-Sports in-store radio of 2002” didn’t help the case against the latter.

The war was waged and won, as A.G. Cook’s futuristic vision of what pop music could be is now reality. Whereas Cook once created a fake pop star for the single “Hey QT”- there is now a very real pop star, Charli XCX, who reps PC Music to the masses. Artists like Caroline Polachek and 100 gecs cite Cook as an important influence and collaborator. “Hyperpop” is the topic of daily debate on twitter and in the New York Times. Whilst Cook can be heard everywhere, 7G is his first release as a solo artist. It’s a welcome step into the spotlight by one of modern music’s true innovators.  

7G is, objectively, a ludicrous project. At 2 hours and 39 minutes stretched over 49 songs (7 thematically themed discs), it’s somewhere between a hard-drive dump and a meticulously curated opus. It’s filled to the brim with experiments, covers and fully realised songs. Listening to it feels intimate and intriguing, like getting a glance of someone’s cluttered desktop on Zoom.

The highlights are many and varied: the abrasive noise of “Triptych Demon”, the extasy of “Dust”, the throwback PC remix “DJ Every Night” and the sneaky banger “Show Me What”- to only name a few. Put simply, it’s the only album to sample Beethoven, evoke Aphex Twin and cover Taylor Swift and make it seem obvious.

I find a genuine, joyous optimism to the music Cook makes, which has felt much needed this year. For Cook, genres, sounds and songs are like toys to be played with rather than kept in their packaging. It’s an intoxicating perspective which you momentarily get to inhabit. With 7G, Cook invites us into his unbridled world. My advice would be to dive in and see where it takes you.

Two more essential albums of 2020

Kelly Lee Owens – Inner Song

Ana Roxanne – Because of the Flower

Track of the Year

J Hus – No Denying

Gig of the Year

The Orielles at the 02 Ritz in Manchester

Below: Watch a one hour-forty-five minute "7G Experience" curated by A.G. Cook

For Cook, genres, sounds and songs are like toys to be played with rather than kept in their packaging

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