A. G. Cook

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from A. G. Cook (Musician))
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A. G. Cook
A. G. Cook performing in March 2015
A. G. Cook performing in March 2015
Background information
Birth nameAlexander Guy Cook[1]
Born (1990-08-23) 23 August 1990 (age 30)[2]
OriginLondon, England, United Kingdom
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Music producer
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record executive
Years active2011–present
LabelsPC Music
Associated acts
Websiteagcook.com

Alexander Guy Cook (born 23 August 1990) is an English music producer, singer, songwriter, and head of record label PC Music. Since its founding in August 2013, PC Music has represented over twenty artists producing music within a similar genre and style.[3] Cook's dense, chaotic arrangements are distorted versions of mainstream pop music. He was named #12 in the Dazed 100 for "redefining style and youth culture in 2015 and beyond".[4] Cook came into the public eye as Charli XCX's creative director[5] and has executively produced her last four projects: Number 1 Angel, Pop 2, Charli and How I'm Feeling Now.

Cook released his two debut albums 7G and Apple in 2020.

Early life[edit]

Alexander Guy Cook is the son of architect Sir Peter Cook and Israeli architect Yael Reisner. He attended Goldsmiths, University of London, where he studied music.[6]

Career[edit]

2011-2013: Career beginnings[edit]

It was at Goldsmiths he reconnected with Danny L Harle, with whom he had gone to school as a teen.[2] The two bonded over their shared musical tastes and interest in comedy duo Tim & Eric. This grew into a musical project called Dux Content.[7] Since they did not have a vocalist, Dux Content focused on musical experiments like compound metres and changes in tempo.[7] One of their earlier works was a collection of compositions for the Disklavier, released with Spencer Noble and Tim Phillips under the name "Dux Consort".[1]

Cook has worked on graphics for PC Music acts including easyFun and Maxo.[1]

Cook created Gamsonite, a "pseudo-label" collecting his early collaborations.[6] Dux Content released its songs with strange renderings of digital avatars for promotional artwork.[1] They contributed to the score for Alicia Norman's animated film Heart of Death and began considering a children's television show titled Dux Content's Jungle Jam. Cook and Harle explored how to build rhythms out of a vocalist's natural singing tempo and released the results as "Dux Kidz". The project was noticed by producer Sophie, who later worked with PC Music's acts.[7] Cook began working on building flashy websites with Hannah Diamond and decided to focus on using websites to promote music.[6]

2013-2015: Foundation of PC Music[edit]

In August 2013, Cook founded PC Music as a way of embracing an A&R role, with the aim of "recording people who don't normally make music and treating them as if they're a major label artist."[2] In January 2014, Cook released "Keri Baby" as his first solo single, with vocals by Diamond.[8] The track uses pop clichés and glitchy vocals to depict Diamond as a digital entity on a screen.[8][9] His follow-up single "Beautiful" was released in June. "Beautiful" is a pastiche of Eurodance, featuring high, pitch-shifted vocals and donk sounds.[10][11] Fact magazine called it PC Music's "de-facto anthem", and the song received a remix from Scottish producer Rustie.[12]

Sophie (left) and Cook (right) produced QT's single "Hey QT"

Cook worked with Sophie to produce a song for QT, a pop singer portrayed by American performance artist Hayden Dunham.[13] She found Cook through his work online and wanted to use a song to market a QT energy drink.[14] Their resulting collaboration "Hey QT" was released in August 2014 on XL Recordings.[15]

On 22 December 2014, A. G. Cook released "What I Mean" from his "Personal Computer Music" mix as a single. The single was made available as a free download via radio presenter Annie Mac's "Free Music Monday" SoundCloud channel.[16] Opening with muffled dialogue, the song incorporates robotic vocals and a sample of R&B artist Chuckii Booker.[17] Its organ-based arrangement was a more soulful take on Cook's usual style of dance-pop.[17][18] After discussing a collaboration on a Charli XCX album,[19] Cook contributed an official remix of her single "Doing It" featuring Rita Ora.[20]

Cook's work received recognition on year-end lists for 2014. "Keri Baby" was listed at number 5 of Dummy magazine's "20 Best Tracks of 2014",[21] and Buzzfeed's "13 Obscure Tracks of 2014",[22] number 1 on Gorilla vs. Bear's, "Favourite Tracks of 2014",[23] number 2 on Dazed & Confused's "Top 20 Tracks of 2014".[9] Pitchfork Media ranked "Beautiful" number 30 on its list of "The 100 Best Tracks of 2014".[10]

March 2015 saw Cook's PC Music head to the US to showcase all 11 of his label's talent at the Empire Garage in Austin, Texas as part of SXSW. The showcase received positive reviews, with The Guardian saying "AG Cook's entire thundering set [shows] this is a label refusing to be confined by definitions of genre or good taste."[24] On 8 May 2015, Cook performed as part of a PC Music show at BRIC House in Brooklyn, New York as part of the Red Bull Music Academy Festival. The show was billed as the premiere of Pop Cube, "a multimedia reality network".[25]

"Superstar," Cook's fifth single, was released via PC Music on 13 July 2016.[26] On the day of its release, Cook revealed via Twitter that "Superstar" had been in the works for over two years prior, originally beginning as a "topline pitch" for electro house DJ Zedd.[27]

In April 2016, experimental music producer Oneohtrix Point Never posted a cryptic video to his Instagram that appeared to show Cook working on a remix of "Sticky Drama," a single from his 2015 album Garden of Delete.[28] The remix was later surprise-released on 16 December 2016.[29][30]

2017-Present: Charli XCX, other ventures, 7G and Apple[edit]

In March 2017, Charli XCX's mixtape Number 1 Angel was released, prominently featuring production by Cook and others, including PC Music artists and affiliates SOPHIE, Danny L Harle, Life Sim, and EASYFUN, who created the project EasyFX with Cook. This was followed by the mixtape Pop 2, also featuring production by Cook and others. Pitchfork Media gave Pop 2 a rating of 8.4 out of 10, calling it "a vision of what pop music could be" and "the best full-length work of both Charli and PC Music’s respective careers".[31]

In November 2018, A. G. Cook contributed to Tommy Cash's second studio album ¥€$. Cook is credited as the producer on 5 tracks on the record, including lead single "X-RAY" which he co-produced with Danny L Harle.

Cook was announced as the co-executive producer for Charli XCX's third studio album Charli, which was released on 13 September 2019. Cook has produced six of the album's seven singles, including Gone, the third single from the album, which features Christine and the Queens. The song was awarded "Best New Track" by Pitchfork[32] and best song of the week by Stereogum.[33]

On 6 April 2020, Cook and BJ Burton were announced as co-executive producers for Charli XCX's quarantine album How I'm Feeling Now, which was written in an open-source style, sharing the production process online and utilising fan input/content.[34]

Cook produced the song "Exhale" by Jónsi, his first solo music in a decade, released on 23 April 2020.[35] In July 2020 it was revealed Cook is the co-executive producer on Shiver, Jónsi's new album which was released on 2 October 2020.[36]

On 30 July 2020, Cook announced an upcoming studio album 7G.[37] On 7 August 2020, he held a virtual concert featuring Caroline Polachek, Thy Slaughter and GRRL titled 7 by 7 over Zoom.[citation needed] The album was released through PC Music on 12 August,[38] comprising 49 tracks split over seven discs.[39]

On 20 August 2020, Cook announced another studio album, Apple.[40] The announcement came with the release of the single "Oh Yeah".[40] The album was released through PC Music on 18 September 2020.[39][41][42]

Artistry[edit]

Cook's style of music amplifies the clichés of mainstream pop music from the 1990s and 2000s.[4] He follows the work of "mega-producers" such as Max Martin and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.[2] Cook references Scritti Politti's album Cupid & Psyche 85 for its "conscious decision to take pop music and make it as shiny and detailed as possible".[44] He cites Korean and Japanese pop music as influences, as well as gyaru subculture.[2]

Cook begins constructing tracks by constructing chords and melodies note by note.[2] He prefers the sounds of virtual instruments and avoids sound design early in the process, giving his music a deadpan simplicity. He experiments with combining dissonant sounds, and the resulting dense, multi-layered arrangements are influenced by the black MIDI techniques.[1][2] Cook's arrangements are inspired by the mechanized music of composer Conlon Nancarrow.[45] When collaborating with other artists, he prepares an extensive demo so that they can complete lyrics and record vocals straight away. Cook thoroughly processes the vocals, chopping them to use as a rhythmic element atop the melody.[2]

In contrast to most of the artists on PC Music, Cook wears plain clothing.[46] GFOTY jokingly characterised his style as normcore.[47]

PC Music[edit]

PC Music was founded by A. G. Cook in 2013 and made its first song available on SoundCloud in the same year.[48] PC Music is known for its surreal or exaggerated take on pop music, often featuring pitch-shifted, feminine vocals and bright, synthetic textures.[49] Artists on its roster include Hannah Diamond, Easyfun, Namasenda & Danny L Harle. The label has been characterized as embracing the aesthetics of advertising, consumerism, and corporate branding.[49] Its artists often present devised personas inspired by cyberculture.[50] The label has inspired both praise and criticism from journalists, and has been called "polarizing".[51] In 2019 it was described by Dazed as one of the 'most exhilarating record labels of the 2010s.'[52] In more recent years it has been noted for its influence on mainstream pop due to the production work by PC Music signees for artists such as Kim Petras, Charli XCX and Jónsi.[53]

Personal life[edit]

A. G. Cook currently lives in Los Angeles where he moved in 2019.[52]

Cook began a relationship with singer Alaska Reid in 2018. Since they began dating, they have frequently collaborated with each other. Cook lent production work on her 2020 EP Big Bunny, as well as mixing her single "Amber" in 2020. Reid lent her vocals to multiple songs on Cook's 2020 albums 7G and Apple. He quarantined with her and her family in Montana during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. He helped produce Charli XCX's how i'm feeling now album while in Montana.

Discography[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Music videos[edit]

Year Song Artist(s) Role Director(s) Notes
2016 "VIPOTY" GFOTY Sneaky Picture Taker Roland Waters Companion short film for the EP of the same name
2016 "Vroom Vroom" Charli XCX Himself Bradley&Pablo
2016 "After the Afterparty" Charli XCX Zombie Diane Martel
2017 "Month of Mayhem" GFOTY Himself Mr. E
2017 "Boys" Charli XCX Himself Charli XCX and Sarah McColgan
2018 "X-Ray" Tommy Cash Himself Tommy Cash and Anna-Lisa Himma
2020 "Party" Planet 1999 Himself Aidan Zamiri and Eamonn Freel
2020 "Oh Yeah" A. G. Cook Himself A. G. Cook
2020 "Silver" A. G. Cook Himself A. G. Cook and Aaron Chan
2020 "Today (Live at Appleville)" A. G. Cook Himself Rick Farin & Claire Cochran
2020 "Beautiful Superstar" A. G. Cook Himself Prosper Unger-Hamilton & A. G. Cook
2020 "Boys From Town" Alaska Reid Himself Santiago Cendejas, A. G. Cook & Alaska Reid
2020 "Jumper" A. G. Cook Himself A. G. Cook and Aaron Chan

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Sherburne, Philip (17 September 2014). "PC Music's Twisted Electronic Pop: A User's Manual". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Golsorkhi-Ainslie, Sohrab (25 August 2013). "Radio Tank Mix: A. G. Cook". Tank. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  3. ^ Jones, Charlie Robin (11 September 2014). "PC Music's digital dreams". Dazed & Confused. 4: 178–183.
  4. ^ a b Cliff, Aimee (2014). "Dazed 100". Dazed. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  5. ^ "Charli XCX Hired PC Music Founder A.G. Cook As Her Creative Director". idolator. 13 July 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Hunt, El (11 June 2014). "Inside the hard drive of PC Music". DIY. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Bulut, Selim (24 February 2015). "Next: Danny L Harle". Dummy. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Cliff, Aimee (21 November 2014). "PC Music Forever". The Awl. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  9. ^ a b Cliff, Aimee (12 December 2014). "The top 20 tracks of 2014". Dazed. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  10. ^ a b Ryce, Andrew (15 December 2014). "The 100 Best Tracks of 2014". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  11. ^ Bowe, Miles (4 June 2014). "A. G. Cook – 'Beautiful'". Stereogum. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  12. ^ "Rustie's remix of A. G. Cook has the drop to end all drops". Fact. 6 December 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  13. ^ Taylor, Trey (16 December 2014). "Is QT the musical S1m0ne?". Dazed & Confused. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  14. ^ Lea, Tom (9 September 2014). "Hey QT! An interview with 2014's most love-her-or-hate-her pop star". Fact. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  15. ^ "Sophie and A. G. Cook are QT Announce Debut Single Hey QT". Pitchfork Media. 29 August 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  16. ^ "PC Music boss A. G. Cook shares 'What I Mean' – grab a free download". Fact. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  17. ^ a b Brodsky, Rachel (22 December 2014). "Stream A.G. Cook's Tweaked-Out New Single, 'What I Mean'". Spin. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  18. ^ Connick, Tom (28 December 2014). "PC Music's A.G. Cook Shares New Track 'What I Mean'". DIY. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  19. ^ Myers, Owen (10 December 2015). "Charli XCX: suck my left one". Dazed. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  20. ^ Raymer, Miles (23 January 2015). "Hyperpop scene-maker A. G. Cook remixes Charli XCX and Rita Ora's 'Doing It'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  21. ^ "The 20 best tracks of 2014". Dummy. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  22. ^ "13 Obscure Pop Songs From 2014 You Need To Hear". Buzzfeed. 6 December 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  23. ^ "Favourite Tracks Of 2014". Gorilla vs. Bear. 6 June 2014.
  24. ^ Ellis-Petersen, Hannah (20 March 2015). "PC Music at SXSW review – good taste goes out the window in pop makeover" – via www.theguardian.com.
  25. ^ Pareles, Jon (10 May 2015). "Review: PC Music and Sophie in a High-Concept Extravaganza at BRIC House" – via NYTimes.com.
  26. ^ "Superstar by A. G. Cook - PC Music". superstar.pcmusic.info. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  27. ^ "A. G. Cook on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  28. ^ "Instagram video by OPN • Apr 7, 2016 at 10:50pm UTC". Instagram. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  29. ^ "Oneohtrix Point Never - Sticky Drama (A. G. Cook Remix)". Oneohtrix Point Never. Archived from the original on 22 December 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  30. ^ Sticky Drama (A. G. Cook Remix), retrieved 22 December 2016
  31. ^ "Charli XCX: Pop 2". Pitchfork. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  32. ^ "'Gone' by Charli XCX / Christine and the Queens Review". Pitchfork. 17 July 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  33. ^ "Charli XCX, Wilco, & The Week's Best Songs: Listen". Stereogum. 19 July 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  34. ^ "How She's Feeling Now: Checking in With Charli XCX About Her Quarantine LP". Stereogum. 20 April 2020. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  35. ^ Martoccio, Angie (23 April 2020). "Jónsi Returns With First New Solo Music in a Decade, 'Exhale'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  36. ^ "Shiver, by Jónsi". Jónsi. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  37. ^ Minsker, Evan. "A. G. Cook Announces New 49-Song Album 7G". Pitchfork. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  38. ^ "A. G. Cook: 7G". Pitchfork. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  39. ^ a b "AG Cook: Apple review – magical shifts in tone". The Guardian. 20 September 2020. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  40. ^ a b Bloom, Madison. "A. G. Cook Announces New Album Apple, Shares Video for New Song". Pitchfork. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  41. ^ "A. G. Cook's Apple is abrasive and jarring, yet bizarrely compelling". Evening Standard. 18 September 2020. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  42. ^ Hodgkinson, Will. "AG Cook: Apple review — clever, but completely unlistenable". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  43. ^ Milton, Jamie (4 June 2014). "A. G. Cook - Beautiful". DIY. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  44. ^ Barchi, Aly (12 December 2014). "CMU Artists Of The Year 2014: PC Music". Complete Music Update. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  45. ^ Pareles, Jon (10 May 2015). "Review: PC Music and Sophie in a High-Concept Extravaganza at BRIC House". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  46. ^ Wolfson, Sam (2 May 2015). "PC Music: the future of pop or 'contemptuous parody'?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  47. ^ Stephens, Huw (25 March 2015). "PC Music Interview". BBC Radio 1. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  48. ^ Jones, Charlie Robin (11 September 2014). "PC Music's digital dreams". Dazed. 4: 178–183.
  49. ^ a b Geffen, Sasha. "PC Music's Inverted Consumerism". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  50. ^ Bassil, Ryan (23 May 2014). "Trying to Make Sense of Hannah Diamond and Post-Ringtone Music". Vice. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  51. ^ Zoladz, Lindsay. "The Enigmatic PC Music Is Ready for Real Life". Vulture. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  52. ^ a b Dazed (20 December 2019). "The history of PC Music, the most exhilarating record label of the 2010s". Dazed. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  53. ^ "Post-PC Music: How the London label inspired a new stage in the pop continuum". Mixmag. Retrieved 8 May 2020.

External links[edit]