bebo revival

This post will (hopefully) be a bit shorter than usual as I’ve actually fixed my sleep schedule but I decided to listen to that 100 gecs remix album on the train last weekend and that lead to me overthinking a little. It’s been around a year since I first stumbled upon 1000 gecs and that means I’m now able to get vaguely nostalgic about it – that album essentially just melted the brains of the extremely-online people I spend a decent chunk of my time texting and there’s something about the way it spread that I found exciting. Friends would eventually give in and watch the Money Machine video after getting hounded about the record for ages, get mad at how shite the song seemed, but then within a few days they’d start talking to me about constantly looping the album and how it was their favorite release of the year – I remember joking at the time about how 100 gecs was essentially a pandemic within my friend group, a joke which doesn’t really land anymore. The reasons behind this virality are extremely simple – this album was ironic enough to the point where it could serve as an easy punchline but genuine enough to the point where you could actually listen to it more than once. Dylan Brady and Laura Les are extremely skilled producers and songwriters and they genuinely set out to make catchy music, even if they dressed it up behind countless layers of irony and tacky MIDI soundfonts. Every single pretentious Autechre fan likes to pretend that with more “out there” music you just have to listen to it a few times until it reveals itself and suddenly feels poppy – 1000 Gecs is an album that actually does reveal itself once you get over the fact it sounds like Nightcore and that’s exactly what made it so memetic this time last year.

I think the best (and arguably most infamous) example of this memetic quality within the Gecs discography is ‘money machine’, a single which presumably still haunts all the people on Irish Twitter to this day. I have this really pretentious habit of referring to every single song with an actual melody in it as “pop” but this track objectively slaps after a few listens and it’s fun watching people go through the five stages of grief over that fact. The track starts out in the tackiest way possible, with Laura Les calling you a pissbaby over some godawful Country preset but eventually becomes more palatable, sounding a bit like a badly-mixed and bass boosted PC music beat (but in the best way possible). The fact the track is barely two minutes long makes it even more of an earworm – it’s essentially all just chorus and that means it can lodge itself into your brain without much effort. This track works due to the duo’s genuine skill when it comes to songwriting – it’s very easy to write off anything produced on a laptop with a cynical shrug of “anyone could put this together” but I’d like to see anyone who said that attempt to recreate this track from scratch, it shouldn’t actually work but it somehow does as the people trying to take the piss are scarily good at doing so. Whenever I try throwing one of these paragraphs together I force myself to loop the song until I can come out with some vaguely interesting sentences, the fact I haven’t gotten sick of this track after making myself listen to it nineteen times in a row is an achievement in and of itself – even if it’ll be stuck in my head for the next decade.

Anyways let’s get back to the remix album that you’re probably slightly more excited to read about. ‘1000 gecs and The Tree of Clues’ is one of the largest mixed bags of this year – some tracks hit hard but some are really hard to like actually sit through. However, I feel like this compilation of remixes is one of the more exciting releases of the year – it hints towards something larger and that’s what got me overthinking on public transport last weekend. I’ve talked a little in the past about the impending ouroboros of art inspired by nostalagia for the noughties and some of the better remixes on here channel the energy I was trying to badly predict back in April – the best remixes on here feel like a modchipped PS2 in a way I find hard to explain but get scarily excited about when stuck on a train. Most people reading this blog post will recognize half the names on this album but each remix feels fresh when compared to the rest of these musician’s discographies – the A.G Cook remix that starts this album is probably my favourite track he’s worked on in ages and I feel like that says a lot. I’ve probably annoyed anyone forced to read these posts by gushing about how evolutionary music is but I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing what musicians are inspired by this compilation, even if I’ll probably be a boomer by then. Other highlights include Umru’s take on ‘ringtone‘, Fall Out Boy inexplicably making a (scarily good) appearance on ‘hand crushed by a mallet’, and 99jakes turning ‘xXXi_wud_nvrstøp_ÜXXx’ into easy fodder for a future Wixapol set. However one of the most exciting remixes came from one of the more niche artists on the compilation (and one I’ve been meaning to write about for a little while), N0THANKY0U.

During the dying weeks of the Bernie campaign annoying Americans essentially just coped with getting ratfucked by trying to claim that Sanders served as a “compromise candidate” – N0THANKY0U makes 100 gecs look like a failed attempt to placate impending revolution. I’ve found the London-based musician really interesting since I first stumbled upon their 2019 release ‘To The Fairest’ but I feel that their remix of ‘hand crushed by a mallet’ serves as the best explanation as to why I’m so excited by their creative output – it sounds like if a tacky anime intro, a Nightcore remix of a 2000s UK indie song, and a SoundClown shitpost got thrown into a pressure cooker and that combination is objectively cool, even if it only makes sense when you’re listening through the cheapest headphones possible. This remix is just raw energy shoved between an ironic Metro Boomin producer tag, making writing about it a major pain in the arse – it’s hard to explain what exactly makes this track great but scarily easy to deafen yourself while blaring it in your room. If the label had actually tagged the remix correctly this could have been the moment where more people stumbled upon the musician’s hiki-pop but they managed to bottle the tags twice, leading to me sitting here at 10 pm on a Monday trying to explain it in a way that doesn’t make me sound even more pretentious.

‘To The Fairest’ feels like if the indie and pop-punk of the 2000s got a terminal internet addiction and tried pirating ‘The Anarchist Cookbook’. Despite being only nineteen minutes long the record feels like its making some form of statement, even if said statement is buried under a concerning amount of pirated distortion plugins. The best tracks on here manage to take the idea of being a misanthropic shut-in and make it sound like a rejected Tony Hawk game soundtrack – nobody who fully relates to this record would ever be spotted in a mosh pit but these songs essentially just let you live out that fantasy for a little. N0THANKY0U is essentially just an actually good version of Negative XP for people who aren’t utter fucking arseholes and that’s really refreshing, even if everyone will (understandably) judge me for making that comparison. Never leaving the house has never sounded this exciting – which is a bit of a shame as I’ll hopefully no longer fall into the target audience for this record now that we’ve collectively given up on lockdown. Some of the best tracks on here channel the raw energy of the two actually decent Bloc Party albums, bringing us back to the ouroboros of supposed 2000s nostalgia I rambled about a few paragraphs ago. For lack of a better term this record genuinely feels like “Bebo revival” – it’s clearly indebted to tacky anime dubs, whingey pop-punk, and godawful DeviantArt accounts but these influences are channeled in a way that feels oddly invigorating. ‘To The Fairest’ is an album that only really makes sense in our current moment, take from that what you will. That or I just really like ‘Empty Words, Speak in Lies’, both are equally plausible.