Combining two of last year’s best albums, Apple vs. 7G shows AG Cook hasn’t run out of ways to innovate and adapt his sound.
After putting out his first two solo records last year, PC Music founder AG Cook returns with a remix album comprising work from both those releases, titled Apple vs. 7G. This remix album builds out from the hyper-pop sound that characterized the two original sets it draws from, taking the next logical step for Cook’s music. When he founded PC Music, Cook was primarily a producer, gaining popularity as the creative director behind much of Charli XCX’s work. The sound that he produced was not only accessible (to a certain listener anyway), but it was innovative and different from anything else at the time. Which is to say, there’s a very short line to draw between Cook’s work in the early 2010s and the recent popularity of a group like InRO favorite 100 Gecs. Cook also would treat each obscure artist on his label’s roster as if they were a massive popstar just through the way their music was promoted and released — in effect, pushing a sound that has now indeed entered the mainstream. It’s because of such innovative strategies that a remix album from Cook is such an enticing idea, especially with the boundaries that were already being pushed on both 7G and Apple, respectively. The genre reach is broad: “Oh Yeah” features a prime form Caroline Polachek (formerly of Chairlift) hitting the hyper-pop highs characteristic of Cook’s sound, while “H2O2” delves into rapping, courtesy of some verses from Denzel Himself, and “Lil Song (unplugged)” utilizes a bit of acoustic guitar, which it drops into the maelstrom of Cook’s chopped-up and rhythmic sonic textures. If that all makes this sound like a disjointed listen, well, it is — but that’s also part of the appeal. Remix albums tend to offer this kind of fractured listening experience, and that end seems twice as likely considering this one sources two separate albums. The nearly hour-and-a-half runtime can be a bit of a struggle admittedly, but it’s best to think of Apple vs. 7G as a kind of “greatest hits” collection — albeit made-up of songs you’ve never heard sounding like this before, which actually works on a theoretical level. Cook stayed busy throughout the pandemic, putting on two digital festivals and producing an entire Charli XCX album, in addition to his own recorded output; his albums sound a bit like a soundtrack to that chaotic schedule, with a lot going on in each corner of every track, which also gives the works a strong and refreshed replay value. Apple vs. 7G proves that, despite all that Cook has on his plate, he doesn’t sound tired; he’s still innovating, pushing his sound forward.
Published as part of Album Roundup — May 2021 | Part 2.