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Too Pop? Too Weird? A.G. Cook of PC Music Is Stepping Out on His Own

Cook’s own albums, like the rest of his output, are the result of both impulse and philosophical deliberation. “PC Music — I always took the name of it quite literally,” Cook said. “I thought that at some point, I can’t just keep thinking about personal computer music without doing my own A.G. Cook stuff. I’m bringing my own voice and performance into it, using that awkwardness, playing with the mix between singer-songwriter and producer and how those connect.”

For “7G,” he gave himself numerical targets and narrowed down his favorite studio tools; along with guitar, piano and drums, one of the seven discs features “Supersaw,” a waveform that creates rough, bassy, buzzing tones often used in electronic dance music. “Apple” might seem to be merely a computer joke — from PC Music to Apple — but Cook chose the title after considerable deliberation.

“At first I was only using ‘Apple’ as an example of what I thought would be an ideal album name could be,” he said. “Something that is super simple and kind of primary school, but then has endless connotations, a ridiculous number. Obviously Apple computing, but also the Beatles’ label, New York, the Bible, a million fairy tales. It was just fun to pick an almost random object and see how much depth was in there.”

Near the end of “Apple,” there’s a song called “Haunted” that starts out almost folky, with guitar picking and a vocal of random syllables. It sounds like a songwriter with an emerging melody, feeling it out note by tentative note. That’s what it was, Cook said — an early scratch vocal — but that’s not where the song stays. Before it ends, it’s transformed into a multi-tracked, computer-tuned chorale, still wordless but thoroughly processed. To Cook’s ear, it’s all equally natural: human and machine, searching for a song’s essence.

“It felt kind of inevitable,” he said.

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