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Alexander Guy Cook is a British music producer, singer and head of record label PC Music. Since its founding in August 2013, PC Music has represented 17 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 is currently Charli XCX's Creative Director[5] and has executively produced her third studio album, Charli.

A. G. Cook
A. G. Cook.jpg
A. G. Cook performing in March 2015
Background information
Birth nameAlexander Guy Cook[1]
Born (1990-08-23) 23 August 1990 (age 29)[2]
OriginLondon, England, United Kingdom
GenresPop, electronic, dance
Occupation(s)Producer
Years active2011–present
LabelsPC Music
Associated actsHannah Diamond, Sophie, QT, GFOTY, Danny L Harle, Kane West, Charli XCX, Oneohtrix Point Never, Felicita
Websiteagcook.com

BiographyEdit

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

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.[31][32] 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".[33]

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 is the co-executive producer for Charli XCX's third studio album Charli, which was released on the 13th of 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 [34] and best song of the week by Stereogum. [35]

ArtistryEdit

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".[37] 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.[38] 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.[39] GFOTY jokingly characterised his style as normcore.[40]

DiscographyEdit

Extended playsEdit

Year Title Release date Label
2013 Nu Jack Swung Jul 31, 2013 PC Music

SinglesEdit

Year Title Release date Label
2014 "Keri Baby" (featuring Hannah Diamond) Jan 14, 2014 PC Music
"Beautiful" Jun 4, 2014
"What I Mean" Dec 23, 2014 Annie Mac Presents
2015 "Drop FM" (featuring Hannah Diamond) Feb 19, 2015 PC Music
2016 "Superstar" Jul 13, 2016
2017 "Money On A Gold Plate / Cos I Love U" May 16, 2017
2019 "Lifeline" Aug 28, 2019

Other tracksEdit

Year Title Release date Label
2013 "My Miss 2.0 [Christmas 2.0]" Dec 19, 2014 Priz Tats
2014 "HAD 1" (Club Mix) Feb 4, 2014 Folie Douce
"Bubs" (with Oneohtrix Point Never) Dec 18, 2014
2017 "Windowlicker" (Aphex Twin cover) Jul 28, 2017

Songwriting and production creditsEdit

Title Year Artist(s) Album Credits Written with Produced with
"Less Love More Sex" 2013 Princess Bambi Non-album single Producer - -
"Pink and Blue" Hannah Diamond - -
"Hey QT" 2014 QT Co-writer/Producer Hayden Dunham, Sophie Xeon SOPHIE
"Attachment" Hannah Diamond Producer - -
"Every Night" - -
"Hi" 2015 Co-writer/Producer Hannah Diamond -
"爱有引力 (Real Love)" Li Yuchun Real Love / Only You EP Li Yuchun -
"混蛋,我想你 (Only You)" Li Yuchun -
"I Like It" 2016 Tempura Kidz Non-album single Sarah Bonito, Finn Keane EasyFun
"Fade Away" Hannah Diamond Hannah Diamond, Finn Keane EasyFun
"Make Believe" Producer - EasyFun
"Paradise"
(featuring Hannah Diamond)
Charli XCX Vroom Vroom EP Co-writer Charlotte Aitchison, Martin Stilling, Jonnali Parmenius, Sophie Xeon -
"After the Afterparty"
(featuring Lil Yachty)
Non-album single Vocal Producer StarGate, FRED, SOPHIE -
"Dreamer"
(featuring Starrah & RAYE)
2017 Number 1 Angel Co-writer/Producer Charlotte Aitchison, Rachel Keen, Brittany Hazzard -
"3AM (Pull Up)"
(featuring )
Co-writer Charlotte Aitchison, Karen Marie Ørsted -
"Blame It On U" Co-writer/Producer Charlotte Aitchison, Jonnali Parmenius -
"White Roses" Producer - -
"Drugs"
(featuring ABRA)
Co-writer/Producer Charlotte Aitchison, Abra -
"Lipgloss"
(featuring Cupcakke)
Charlotte Aitchison, Elizabeth Harris Life Sim, SOPHIE
"Dirty Sexy Money"
(with Afrojack featuring Charli XCX
& French Montana)
David Guetta 7 Co-writer Pierre Guetta, Nick van de Wall, Charlotte Aitchison, Karim Kharbouch, Jonnali Parmenius -
"Out of My Head"
(featuring Tove Lo & Alma)
Charli XCX Pop 2 Co-writer/Producer Charlotte Aitchison, Ebba Tove Nilsson, Alma-Sofia Miettinen, Sophie Xeon SOPHIE
"Unlock It"
(featuring Kim Petras & Jay Park)
Charlotte Aitchison, Park Jae-beom, Kim Petras Life Sim
"Backseat"
(featuring Carly Rae Jepsen)
Charlotte Aitchison, Carly Rae Jepsen, Finn Keane EasyFun
"Lucky" Charlotte Aitchison Ö
"Tears"
(featuring Caroline Polachek)
Charlotte Aitchison, Caroline Polachek -
"I Got It"
(featuring Brooke Candy, Cupcakke
& Pabllo Vittar)
Charlotte Aitchison, Jesse Shatkin, Rodrigo Gorky, Pablo Bispo, Brooke Candy, Jesse St. John, Elizabeth Harris, Arthur Marques Umru
"Femmebot"
(featuring Dorian Electra & Mykki
Blanco
)
Charlotte Aitchison, David Gamson, Fransisca Hall, Michael Quattlebaum Jr., Finn Keane EasyFun, David Gamson
"Delicious"
(featuring Tommy Cash)
Charlotte Aitchison, Tommy Cash -
"Porsche"
(featuring )
Charlotte Aitchison, Henry Allen, Karen Marie Ørsted, Cassia O'Reilly King Henry, EasyFun
"Track 10" Charlotte Aitchison, Mikkel Eriksen, Tor Hermansen, Noonie Bao, Sasha Yatchenko Life Sim, Lil Data
"Mood" 2018 Charlie Hanson Non-album single Charlie Hanson, Brett McLaughlin -
"Focus" Charli XCX Charlotte Aitchison, Jakob Hazell, Svante Halldin -
"True" Hannah Diamond Reflections Producer - -
"Mona Lisa"
(featuring Rick Owens)
Tommy Cash ¥€$ - -
"Horse B4 Porsche" - -
"Dostoyevsky" - -
"Cool 3D World" - -
"Quake" 2019 Alaska Reid Non-album single Co-writer/Producer Alaska Reid -
"Blame It on Your Love" Charli XCX Charli Additional producer - Stargate, EasyFun
"Gone"
(with Christine and the Queens)
Producer - Lotus IV, O, Baseck
"Ocean of Tears" Caroline Polachek Pang Additional Producer - Caroline Polachek, Danny L Harle, Valley Girl
"Cross You Out"
(featuring Sky Ferreira)
Charli XCX Charli Co-writer/Producer Charlotte Aitchison, Jonnali Parmenius, Linus Wiklund Lotus IV
"Warm"
(featuring Haim)
Charlotte Aitchison, Danielle Haim, Alana Haim, Este Haim -
"February 2017"
(featuring Yaeji & Clairo)
Producer Charli XCX, Yaeji, Clairo Planet 1999
"2099"
(featuring Troye Sivan)
Charli XCX, Troye Sivan Nömak

RemixesEdit

2013 Dreamtrak "Odyssey, Pt. 2" (A. G. Cook Remix)
2013 Karmelloz "B. M. W." (A. G. Cook Refix)
2013 DJ DJ Booth "Heaven" (A. G. Cook Remix)
2013 Yola Fatoush "Skeleton" (A. G. Cook Remix)
2014 Zinc "Show Me" (A. G. Cook Remix)
2014 How to Dress Well "Repeat Pleasure" (A. G. Cook Remix)
2015 Charli XCX feat. Rita Ora "Doing It" (A. G. Cook Remix)
2015 Yelle "Moteur Action" (Sophie & A. G. Cook Remix)
2016 Oneohtrix Point Never "Sticky Drama" (A. G. Cook Remix)
2017 Danny L Harle "Me4U" (A. G. Cook Remix)
2018 Phoenix "Fior Di Latte" (A. G. Cook Remix)

MixesEdit

2012 "ILLAMASQUA 彩る MIX BY A. G. COOK" Logo Magazine
2013 "CON/HAL x LOGO MIX BY A. G. COOK" Logo Magazine
2013 "Radio Tank Mix: A. G. Cook" Tank Magazine
2013 "Personal Computer Music" DIS Magazine
2013 "A. G. COOK / CC MIX" Creamcake
2014 "LUCKYME x RINSE 32 (ft A. G. COOK)" LuckyMe Records
2014 "PC Music x DISown Radio
(ft. A. G. Cook, GFOTY, Danny L Harle, Lil Data,
Nu New Edition and Kane West)"
PC Music
2015 "A. G. Cook Boiler Room SXSW Mix" Dailymotion x RayBan
2018 "A. G. Cook - Hollywood Ambient" NTS Radio Liminal Takeover

ReferencesEdit

  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. ^ xcx.world
  32. ^ easyfx.audio
  33. ^ "Charli XCX: Pop 2". Pitchfork. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  34. ^ "'Gone' by Charli XCX / Christine and the Queens Review". Pitchfork. 17 July 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  35. ^ "Charli XCX, Wilco, & The Week's Best Songs: Listen". Stereogum. 19 July 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  36. ^ Milton, Jamie (4 June 2014). "A. G. Cook - Beautiful". DIY. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  37. ^ Barchi, Aly (12 December 2014). "CMU Artists Of The Year 2014: PC Music". Complete Music Update. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  38. ^ 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.
  39. ^ Wolfson, Sam (2 May 2015). "PC Music: the future of pop or 'contemptuous parody'?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  40. ^ Stephens, Huw (25 March 2015). "PC Music Interview". BBC Radio 1. Retrieved 2 May 2015.

External linksEdit