Has the music medium truly progressed over the years in terms of quality? With the accessibility of production equipment, the convenience of sharing tracks online and the ability to create new voices, new music is popping up just about every second. One genre that stands as a testament to this is the alternate electronic sound of ‘hyperpop.’ Popularized by artists like the Charli XCX and the late Sophie, as well as social media exposure on platforms like TikTok, hyperpop has gradually taken the world by storm. It’s hardly a surprise that this experimental sound has made its way to The College of Wooster, despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s limitations. However, the way this unique artform was introduced to the student body through this year’s digital Springfest was far from conventional, nor was it the most accommodating.
Enter one of hyperpop’s greatest champions: 100 gecs. The dynamic duo, Laura Les and Dylan Brady, uses preexisting music remixed with extreme pitching and vocals and vibrating basses to create something familiar and alien at the same time. Yet their style wasn’t the most surprising element of the show last Saturday.
Unlike more professional performances, like the over-the-top spectacle of Super Bowl halftime shows, we were simply greeted on camera by the two artists, who spent most of their time playing altered and distorted music from what appeared to be a room in an apartment. Most of the tracks, songs like Utada Hikaru’s “Simple And Clean” and Playboi Carti’s “Love Hurts,” were not even in their own discography. A few of their own songs made an appearance, like “stupid horse,” in which Dylan Brady sang some of the lyrics. The audio, perhaps the part of musical performance that stood out the most, was of poor quality because it was not played from the computer itself. With masks and black sunglasses, the artists appeared elusive, as if they were some doppelgangers who shared the same hair and physique as the real Les and Brady. “Are we in a remote class?” I thought to myself. My roommate and I originally thought the performance was a gag on the style of meetings through platforms, but it lasted the whole hour. It subverted expectations, for sure, which may have caught many viewers off guard, but I can’t help but feel disappointed.
Hyperpop is still an alien form of music to many, especially on a first listen. While I have been exposed to other hyperpop music, many students experienced it for the first time last weekend, and I don’t think many could say it was great. Perhaps the performers were unprepared for a live performance, or maybe they hoped to comment on the lack of authenticity in traditional musical performances. Regardless, I’d argue that the performance failed to make a meaningful impression on behalf of a new sound in today’s young music culture. Even if 100 gecs didn’t give any laughs or excitement after the Springfest performance, their music, amongst that of other similar artists, should. It’s always worth giving new music a try.