In October of 2019, the musical duo 100 Gecs (stylized as “100 gecs”), comprised of Dylan Brady and Laura Les released their debut album 1000 gecs, a masterwork of glitchy, catchy PC music-driven pop tunes which, along with Charli XCX’s exquisite self-titled record, ushered in the ever-growing, ever-changing genre of hyperpop into the mainstream. With the new remix album 1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues, 100 gecs and their musical cohorts prove that the new movement isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Running at 51 minutes over 19 tracks, Tree of Clues is a sprawling affair, featuring not only remixes, but also covers, previously unreleased tracks, and live recordings. The remixes and covers (all referred to in the tracklist as remixes, for reasons to be addressed) come from a variety of musicians, from names as illustrious and accessible as Charli XCX and Fallout Boy, to PC Music icons AG Cook and Umru, to rappers like Lil West and collective Injury Reserve.
With such a large pool of influences, the record on the whole takes on a nature not unlike a musical shapeshifter, each track reinterpreting its source material in fascinating ways: In some of the more cover-esque remixes, the lyrics are reimagined and recontextualized to provide new meanings altogether, such as in Dorian Electra’s gec 2 u remix, where they reimagine the narrator not as one separated half of a distant couple, as in the original track, but as a lonely person calling a phone sex line for company. Elsewhere, certain tracks import other genres into songs which were already jam-packed with genre influences, like the remix of handcrushed by a mallet by rockers Fall Out Boy, Craig Owens and Nicole Dollanganger, infusing the original track with a pop-rock energy seasoned with harsh electronica.
Other tracks redefine the word “remix” altogether, blurring the line between remix and cover, including Tommy Cash and Hannah Diamond’s remix of xXXi_wud_nvrstop_UXXx and Lil West and Tony Velour’s remix of gecgecgec. The latter, reworking a song primarily comprised of chaotic MIDI sounds that barely feel like music, is a standout track for how much it manages to pack in to its 2 minute and 8 second runtime. The first sequence features a rap verse from Lil West which samples many of the sounds from that MIDI chaos into a hard beat with considerable bounce, which seamlessly transitions into Tony Velour’s more pop-influenced verse over a rousing, ethereal instrumental, only to transition once more into Laura Les’s original outro, leaving her vocal line intact over sweeping acoustic redux of the original sequence.
Over the course of the record, with sonic shifts equal parts jarring and seamless, harsh and beautiful, one thing becomes abundantly clear: there is no style or influence that the hyperpop movement cannot tap into, no sound that cannot be transmuted into something new. Like no record before it, 1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues proves that hyperpop is an all-encompassing musical alchemy, a collective art form without exclusion. Tree of Clues shows the fullest potential of the genre, but also perhaps shows us that’s only the beginning of this modern experiment. 1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues is now streaming on all platforms.