Favorite Track: "ringtone (remix) [feat. Charli XCX, Rico Nasty, Kero Kero Bonito]"
Least Favorite Track: "stupid horse (remix) [[feat. GFOTY & Count Baldor]"
Musical duo Laura Les and Dylan Brady, AKA 100 gecs, have made significant waves in the music scene since the release of their 2019 debut album, 1000 gecs. In attempting to categorize their debut record, it may be easier to tell you what genres 1000 gecs isn’t, covering everything from bubblegum bass all the way to heavy metal. The musical intricacies of the record make it incredibly interesting to pull apart, and at a mere 23 minutes in length, it isn’t hard to do that a multitude of times. Needless to say, this record has grown on me a lot over the past few months. I love the knack Laura has for throwing together an ultra-catchy hook on the insanely infectious “745 sticky”, or the cutesy love tune for the digital age, “ringtone”. With pitch-shifted vocals and glitchy, mind-blowing production, the record was easily the most intriguing and fresh record of 2019.
Cut to a little over a year later, and gecs announce they are releasing a remix album entitled 1000 gecs and The Tree of Clues. A few of the initial singles really caught my ear, especially the “ringtone” remix, featuring Charli XCX, Kero Kero Bonito, and Rico Nasty. The track replaced the original digital ringtone melody with an absolutely gorgeous sample of Charli’s voice instead, and KKB and Rico Nasty drop some great verses along the way. After a few more decent singles, I had high hopes for this upcoming release. In a lot of ways, Tree of Clues delivers, but it also falls flat on a lot of important fronts.
The number one thing this record delivers on is the typical gecs production. The insane glitchiness, beat switches, and the abrasive bass is all still present, if not more than 1000 gecs. The remix of “800db cloud”, featuring Ricco Harver on production, sounds relatively similar to the original, with some song structure changes and heavier dubstep influenced drops. There are also some cool switchups from the original songs, most notably one of the remixes of “hand crushed by a mallet”. This remix features Fall Out Boy on the instrumentation and additional verses from Craig Owens and Nicole Dollenganger, culminating to a fantastic emo-punk rendition of a gecs song I have heard time and time again. The “stupid horse” remix is an interesting spin on the original, featuring vocals from GFOTY and some additional production credits to Count Baldor.
The highlights with Tree of Clues do taper off quite heavily after the perks of the production, however. First of all, this record does not flow as a coherent listen very well. The glitchy production of 1000 gecs was very abrasive and crazy to listen to at times, but due to it being very short, it wasn’t hard to digest as a coherent project. This is not the case for Tree of Clues with nineteen tracks adding up to a hulking 51 minutes of material. For most modern artists, 51 minutes would be about the size of a normal record, but after about eight songs, this record really starts to get repetitive and tiresome. The rehashed track ideas and the unrelenting dubstep and bubblegum bass aspects start to wear on me very heavily. Tt makes the back half of the record start to really get old, especially considering the last two songs on the record are live recordings of “small pipe” and “800db cloud” from Adult Swim’s “Live from the Fishcenter” series.
Here is where my conflicts start. If gecs were referring to Tree of Clues as anything other than an album, it would be a lot better in my opinion. The repetition of the record would be significantly less off-putting and it would be much easier to pick and choose songs that I enjoy, but when something like this releases it feels as though I have to look at it as a fully realized gecs project. There are also a few songs on this project that don’t even feature Laura or Dylan, such as the aforementioned “stupid horse” remix or either of the remixes of “hand crushed by a mallet”.
Overall, this record has a lot of flaws that really stop it from being a good listen as a coherent project, but ultimately provides a plethora of fun songs that will more than satisfy fans of gecs, it will just take a lot more digging to find the tracks you want. Dylan and Laura are very interesting and promising figures in modern music, and I suspect Tree of Clues is just a detour for them on a crazy and winding road of experimentation and truly unique musical ideas. Nonetheless, that doesn’t excuse the very clear flaws this record presents and the downgraded replayability from 1000 gecs.