A. G. Cook
Apple


2.0
poor

Review

by Johnny[Well] STAFF
October 15th, 2020 | 17 replies


Release Date: 09/18/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: headshot for william tell

It’s a pretty exciting time to be the glasses-in-chief at PC Music right now. With not one but two - two! - solo debut albums behind him, Mr. G. Cook has elected to step beyond the confines of his public image as an auteur-engineer and foreground himself more directly as a creator-performer-in-chief. If his first debut 7G was a mostly successful flex of his stylistic range as a mastermind producer, then Apple is a more goofy insight into A. G. Cook the zany spaceboy accidentally-but-not-really icon of Actively Marketed futurepop. This is unfortunate for his image - the gravest kind of misfortune possible in the PC Music miniverse - because Apple is a vacuous waste of time that makes whatever cohesion, credibility and engagement he generated with 7G seem like an extended bit with a 40 minute punchline.

Boo, no fun - why the hate? Why the hate, indeed? Let’s look for answers in the most incisive, astute, inspired manner possible: by examining the songs that exist on this album. Nobody likes a track-by-track breakdown, but since Apple has precisely Two songs, this shouldn’t take long. The first song is the spacey acoustic one where A. G. plays his guitar listlessly and sings listlessly and occasionally plays listless synths and delivers listless rhymes of words including but not quite limited to “eye” and “cry.” People have described this song as “clever” because A. G. Cook makes pop music out of radioactive pigshit and broken plastic, but he’s playing a real life guitar here, and the balance of timbres is consequentially mind breaking. The second song is a deconstructed ‘banger’ that exploits multiple decibels and leaves its own tattered momentum for dead more times and more aggressively than the character who isn't played by Leonardo di Caprio in The Revenant. People have described this song as “clever” because it vaguely sounds like club music, despite the fact that it will never play out as danceable or, indeed, listenable to anyone other than waved strobefaces whose rank aftertaste of premonitionary vomit and WKD is the only thing stronger than the surplus reverb afforded to the music by ill-advised ketamine. You will hear the first song five times on this album and the second song twice. Some might argue that mellow synthpop brain-emptiers of “The Darkness” and “Lifeline” constitute independent third and fourth songs, but these are such bland re-re-ree-renditions of A. G.’s longstanding crusty pop Cookbook that flattering them as autonomous entities demands a greater creative effort on your part than the man himself was ever minded to put into them.

Credit where it’s due, he came up with two whole new tracks for this album! Maybe one of them will fly past your capacity for memory faster than a set of divorce papers through the letterbox of a certain Iowaa machinist; maybe the other is gratuitously obnoxious beyond even the most brazen recalcitrance imaginable from a man whose entire craft has recently been semi-eclipsed by fucking 100 Gecs of all people; maybe these two songs have absolutely no business being next to each other, and there is no novelty value in fission because their juxtaposition is facile well beyond the point of dullness; maybe the trademarked plasticated modulation he applies to his guitar layerings in the likes of “Jumper” is half-baked enough to bring to mind that time Grimes played four chords in straight quavers for seven thousand consecutive measures on “Flesh Without Blood“ to awestruck cries of innovation!; maybe the electro-acoustic interplay is tame enough to make the noisestorm at the end of 7G’s “Gold Leaf” and the digitalised psych screwage of “Lil Song” (on the same) look at once like ancient history and the distant future; maybe Cook pulls off the frankly remarkable feat of having a less expressive voice than his collaborator Hannah Diamond. Maybe! Who am I to judge him on these maybes, when he came up with two entire new tracks for this entire album’s worth of songs and sequenced them in a such a clumsy and illusionarily protracted fashion that Apple makes the entirety of The Wall feel like a Napalm Death song. Cook’s true talent has always lain in subverting his audience’s expectations for cheap thrills, yet the way he subverts even that expectation here in favour of whatever you’d call the polar opposite of a cheap thrill is nothing short of breathtaking.

What is the polar opposite of a cheap thrill? Turns out it’s a £10 A. G. Cook album on Bandcamp. 2020 has been a cruel year indeed. Case closed - but before we wade sorrily away from this shitshow, let’s talk briefly about the elephant in the room: why is this review not rated at one of the lowest available scores? The answer to this lies entirely in the incredibly awesome bitcrushed instrumental “Stargon”, which has very little in common with the rest of the album’s incohesive gratuity. It’s beautifully melodic and electrically vibrant in the way of vintage Anamanaguchi, and the only reason I didn’t discuss it in my overview of Songs On This Album earlier was that I was afraid terming it a song in the context of the other songs here might read as a reductive detraction from its superseding valence as a saving grace. How much does it save? Hmm, not much - but think of how much it had to save! A. G. Cook set himself up for the impossible on this one, and if that’s not testament to his apparently unquenchable ambition as a 2D name on computer screens that people occasionally glance at, I don’t know what is.




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user ratings (23)
2.8
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2020


29329 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

thank you Baseline for reminding me that i write reviews sometimes.

found a half draft for this and filled it with another half of a draft and i regret nothing.

Digging: Tricot - 10

parksungjoon
October 15th 2020


22194 Comments


aged cock

Digging: Have Mercy (MD) - Armageddon Descends

newsteamchannel4
October 15th 2020


45 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

found out the other day that this dude is the son of one of britain’s most acclaimed (and knighted, just the one) architect. might not be revelatory. whole label is dumb fake

granitenotebook
Staff Reviewer
October 15th 2020


1056 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i disagree but v good review

Storm In A Teacup
October 15th 2020


30765 Comments


IM THE ARROW SHOT STRAIGHT TO HELL
FROM THE BOW OF WILLIAM TELL
MY BODY LIES, KISSING THE GROUND
LIKE A CROSS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN

A PRIEST IS RUSHING TO MY SIDE
BEGINS TO READ ME, MY LAST RITES
FATHER, YOU'RE TOO LATE, MY FAITH IS WEAK
SO WON'T YOU SAVE YOUR HALF HEARTED SPEECH

Digging: Envy - The Fallen Crimson

Colton
October 15th 2020


4209 Comments


it's cool how your reviews say so much while still maintaining that conversational, casual tone. I walk away from them feeling like I gained something, but what I gained was actually fun to acquire. it's kinda like you have two co-existing writing styles. no colon in the summary though so 6/10

album cover reminds me of Saintseneca's latest

Ryus
October 15th 2020


20767 Comments


still have not heard this or 7g tbh

miss the old pc music

MiloRuggles
Contributing Reviewer
October 15th 2020


855 Comments


This is the kind of review that we carefully place in the cellar, only to be selected and uncorked when we're hosting distinguished clients that we're desperately trying to convince that Sputnik isn't a shithole.

Muchos amour, Mr. John

newsteamchannel4
October 15th 2020


45 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

@ryus 7G is much better but still very much in need of QC (obviously maximalism and a wide pallette is intended but it’s very hit or miss). It’ll be a niche opus probably, if only for the sprawl of its runtime and the circumstances it arrived in

bloc
October 15th 2020


63601 Comments


As if 7G wasn't enough

Digging: Phoxjaw - Royal Swan

ChoccyPhilly
October 15th 2020


12794 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Big disagree. How can any of you dislike the middle portion of this album?

I expected better of you, Johnny, tsk tsk

Digging: Satyr - Locus

themainmast
October 16th 2020


277 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I don't understand why he's trying to market himself as a sex symbol - he looks like every socially awkward IT support tech.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
October 17th 2020


60554 Comments


really? the one non-jpop album you review all year and its gonna be this bullshit?

Digging: Oklou - Galore

bloc
October 17th 2020


63601 Comments


lmao

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
October 18th 2020


29329 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

ashnikko is coming, have faith.

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
October 18th 2020


3469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is brutal, I love it. This sounds like something I'd like though. Possible typos/minor corrections:

"Let’s look for answers in the most incisive accurate possible"

"as danceable or, indeed, listenable anyone other"

"why is this review not rated at the one of the lowest available scores?"



JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
October 18th 2020


29329 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thank ye, Lord Hippocrene - you are the warm sober truth to my cold inebriated fury < 3



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