PC Music, a mysterious, London-based label founded by A.G. Cook in 2013, deviates from all recognizable paths. The label has received its fair share of encomia and vituperation. Easily pass-offable as innocuous consumer pop, the label’s self-aware, sarcastic affectation hints at quite the opposite. Many critics have approached the goings-on over at PC Music with a high level of scrutiny, but it’s not a label that should be taken too seriously; it does better with a grain of salt and some chaser.

The music itself is hyper-digital, Kawaii-influenced synthpop with a heavily treble-skewed auditory range, high-pass filters aplenty and amphetaminic rhythms. The lyrics are peculiar, awkward and obtuse. Hannah Diamond’s “Every Night” awkwardly relates the familiar first moments in a romance: “I know you like the way that I look / And it looks like I like you too / You know I do / I like the way you like / That I like how you look / And you like me too.” The rhythmic phrasing is choppy and noticeably quantized, but behind the heavy digital influence is a seductive candor. The vocals resembling Alvin and the Chipmunks are perhaps the most distinctive aspect of the genre. They are high-pitched, digitally manipulated and Britishly accented. You either love it or hate it.

While the music is immediately unsettling, exposure uncovers an insidious infectiousness. It can be likened to Crystal Palace. A vehicle for intoxication, it is to be stomached with a grimace, but the more you consume, the more powerful the effects become. The label’s bizarre, refined aesthetic sets it and its artists apart and makes it worth the attention it receives. To start, the artists under the label bear Hello Kitty names like easyFun, Princess Bambi, GFOTY (Girlfriend of the Year) and Lipgloss Twins. SOPHIE, while not on the label, is an act often associated with it. The SOPHIE himself is male, but often has female DJs perform as him at his shows. Strange fashion taste features heavily in the persona of the artists. In an interview with VICE, Hannah Diamond says she likes “all white and … veer(s) towards pink and black print and trainers,” while GFOTY likens her style to “a pink onesie covered in Swarovski crystals with loads of money coming out the pockets and Ugg boots.” It is uncertain how much of what GFOTY says is genuine and how much she says with a wink. Her grandiose persona seems to be a loud commentary on female sexuality and club-culture customs. Listen to “Friday Night” and you’ll get the idea – it’s hard to take at face value.

The artists behind the PC label are easily cast off as preternaturally enigmatic, but attractive, human qualities come to light in some of the artists’ interviews. In a video on her YouTube channel, Hannah Diamond tells us about her music’s focus on failed romance. I have to admit, I developed something of a crush for Hannah Diamond after watching the video. Her cute, innocent personality is somehow both in keeping and incongruous with her focused artistic presence. Diamond studied fashion communication and styling and is the Diamond behind image-making duo Diamond Wright, who are responsible for creating promotional images for many of the label’s artists.

The label most recently released a music video for effervescent “artist” QT. QT, also referred to as drinkQT, is not a person, but rather an “energy elixir,” which the website describes as a “5-calorie … drink manufactured to contribute to upward shine, vertical connectivity and personal growth.” The music video for QT’s “Hey QT,” made with collaborators A.G. Cook and SOPHIE, dropped last Wednesday and is part of the mass-marketing ad campaign for the “sparkling future pop sensation.” Confused yet? You’re not the only one.

The video capitalizes on everything that makes PC PC; its visual aspects are in no way an exception. The video takes place in a drinkQT “testing facility” and features a copper-haired, short-banged woman – the spokesperson/face behind QT. She is initially clad in hygienic hospital whites and maintains an uninvolved, laconic disposition as she gets ready to experience drinkQT. When the chorus drops and the elixir takes over, the whites are traded for a tight, reflectively pink dress and her slow movements fall to the wayside of digitally sped-up dance moves. Boy oh boy, if she doesn’t look like she’s having a ball, I don’t know who is. It must be QT’s doing, as we are incessantly reminded, she can feel QT’s “hands on (her) body.” The visuals do well to capture the music’s exuding pinkness and the artificial dance moves complement the pitched up vocals.

Everything about QT hints at its being a mockery of the heavily ad-influenced pop industry. The whole label, which frequently refers to its music as pop, seems a sardonic caricature of the industry. The “Hey QT” music video reminds us that pop artists themselves aren’t treated all too much differently than the latest energy drink and vice versa. PC Music is absurd and nightmarish in a bubble gum and candy canes type of way, but the label’s approach to music production and its heavy emphasis on image is not any stranger than the traditional pop approach; it only takes PC’s jarring music to bring it to light.

I’ve come to develop a taste for PC Music. It’s not musically groundbreaking, but it is definitely the first synth pop that I get down without dry heaves. Much has been written about the happenings over at PC Music, and it seems pretty universal that no one is entirely certain what exactly to think about it. I sure don’t. The two-year-old label has yet to receive widespread notoriety, but as the fan base grows and the artists develop, it should be interesting to see what comes of this motley crew of London artists.

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