Arts and Entertainment

Yes, We Have Reached the Pinnacle of Musical Creation, and It's Called 100 gecs.

An examination of the internet’s latest experimental music sweetheart, 100 gecs.

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As time passes and we progress further into the future, the media that we consume shall, of course, become less recognizable; this is inevitable. There are, however, distinct times during which we must ask ourselves if we have ventured too far into the future, past any outpost of comfort. We find ourselves at the most novel frontiers of art, of human potential. Enter 100 gecs, “musical” duo originally from St. Louis. 100 gecs consists of Laura Les and Dylan Brady, and in recent months, they have garnered much attention, though not without a mixed bag of critical opinions.

Dylan Brady and Laura Les initiated their friendship at a party in 2012. The 100 gecs project began in 2015 when Brady visited Les at her college, and they produced the first track of their 2017 self-titled EP. They recorded the EP in Chicago, where they saw the cryptic words “100 gecs” spray-painted on the side of a building, and adopted it as the name of their partnership. (Presently, Les and Brady work on their music from Chicago and Los Angeles, respectively). They began to receive serious critical acclaim upon the release of their debut album “1000 gecs” (2019), released in May. Additionally, they joined alternative hip-hop collective BROCKHAMPTON on tour later that year, further solidifying their place in discussions of experimental music.

Their following, which is best characterized as cultish, has developed steadily over the past few years. 100 gecs is surrounded by rampant meme culture and has been embraced by TikTok, exposing even more people to their music. Their fans, who have yet to receive a definitive nickname (perhaps “gecs” or “absolute geniuses” would be appropriate), have even coined the term “geccing” to describe the act of thoroughly embracing and losing themselves in the music of 100 gecs. The pine tree on the cover of their project “1000 gecs” has been declared a landmark by the fanbase, and many fans have made a pilgrimage to its location in Des Plaines, Illinois.

More recently, 100 gecs created a buzz with the July release of the remix album “1000 gecs and the Tree of Clues” (2020), over a year after their debut. This album is absolutely star-studded, featuring names such as Charli XCX, Rico Nasty, Kero Kero Bonito, Injury Reserve, Fall Out Boy, Tommy Cash, and more. The album, which reinvents its 2019 predecessor in unique and shocking ways, was received with a mixture of sensational acclaim and bewildered criticism (from those who have yet to develop a taste for “geccing”).

The 100 gecs sound is perhaps best described as being distinctly electronic and abrasive, yet full of catchy earworm melodies. Though the duo has developed their own unique style, there are certain genres apparent throughout their discography, especially on the remix album, in which other artists put their own twist on the 2019 tracks. Elements of electro-pop, bubblegum pop, hardcore, speedcore, noise music, and more are all present. These labels give a rough idea of what the 100 gecs experience is, but to box 100 gecs into an assortment of genre descriptions undermines the very experimental principles upon which the duo was founded. To enjoy 100 gecs is to embrace each stylistic choice that they make, and to recognize that the experimentalism is the lifeblood of the music. The essence of 100 gecs is that it resists labeling; indeed, Brady and Les are that avant-garde. 100 gecs is its own sound, and anyone spending too much time trying to figure out exactly what they’re listening to is missing the point. Brady and Les certainly don’t spend much—if any—time concerning themselves with the details of their genre. Their creative process rests on one crucial goal: creating music that they enjoy. They do what feels natural—and the fans eagerly eat it up—because in the end, the primary audience that they aim to please is themselves.

Whether you love their music or think it sounds like forks in a blender put through autotune, you ought to appreciate the mission. Feel free to voice your distaste, as they genuinely do not care. They’ve got a rabid following who appreciates everything that they try, and even a fan started a petition to make the “gec tree” the eighth wonder of the modern world. They aren’t stopping anytime soon. Strap in, and get geccing.