Thursday 4 January 2024


Hefty plumes of ambient glitterfuzz make the nebulous vanguard charge into producer, person and head of PC Music (now defunct) A. G. Cook's first piece of new music of 2024, 'Silver Thread Golden Needle'. A truly modern sonata, it shifts and evolves through an ice cream parlour of flavours, running like a shifting Windows screensaver through beatscapes, looping soft vox and distortion.

Thudding kicks jostle with techno intensity, decorated with the zings and pings of percussion, adding an intense living spark to proceedings. This evolves into this next movement, synthetic voices like digital choir giving way to strobing trance keys that stutter with destructed static.

Soon we're in dance circle, a halo of handclaps and warm columns of bass lending a footwork-esque feel, with synths gittering somewhere in the background, lilting with analgoue '80s. This retro hue continues as the piece morphs gradually into its final euphoric portion, where snares snap with gated reverb speaking of late 20th-century drum machines, while pitched vox tick and chirrup with digital-age distraction.

“New year new track new”
— A. G. Cook introducing the track on Twitter

Like a sonata, 'Silver Thread Golden Needle' follows a loose, mutating structure throughout its 10 minutes of playtime. After the slow, gentle introduction the first techno-infused section introduces the arpeggiating progression (the exposition), with the mid-section (the development) building on what came before, with a different set of gabbering melodies and glassy synth solos.

Round about the halfway point, this development continues with a short ridge of hard beats, with further evolutions until the 8-minute mark, where the third section (the recapitulation) restates ideas and themes of the exposition in an evolved form of celebratory, triumphal proportions. Then comes the coda — those miniature sonic spirits that bounce around like heated molecules — a shiny, decorative bow.

Far (very far) from being 10 minutes of the same beat, with slightly different percussive elements or melodies added throughout, Cook's track has structure, and direction. It's a house with walls and a roof, not a one-track pathway from A to B. He treats the thumpiest of kicks, the zingiest circuitboard miniutiae and harsh snippets of white noise distortion as a legitimate part of this musicological legacy, permitting texture and beats to play their part in a skillfully manipulated sonata-esque soundscape, joyfully bringing electronic experimentalism and modern dance music into a meandering, yet tethered and thoughtful form.

strobe warning

  • 🔔 The video for 'Silver Thread Golden Needle' by A. G. Cook (above) was created by code-focused graphic artist Lena Weber and video artist Aaron Chan.

A. G. Cook Internet Presence ☟
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