“ULTIMA” makes sense on a hyperpop playlist: Here is a song that smash cuts a revving THX sweep, click-clacking gun sounds, a panicked wail, harp-like plinks, and deep bass hits in its first six seconds alone. Many hyperpop tracks spike the familiar musical formulas of pop-punk, EDM, and trap with (even more) volume and repetition, coming away with anthems for exploding rainbows and overdosing on Pez, but “ULTIMA” is an outlier. On this first single from an upcoming EP, Body Meat producer, singer, and songwriter Christopher Taylor folds such scattershot restlessness in on itself; its freneticism has much more in common with footwork than Fall Out Boy. There’s no way to tell where this song will go from second to second, no big drop, no mantra itching for virality. In its spontaneity lies an avant expression of peace.
The song is a continuation of the Ableton acrobatics Taylor began exploring on his creative breakthrough, Truck Music—which actually came out a month before 100 gecs’ debut album (aka hyperpop’s big bang) in the spring of 2019. Around that time, he told us how he spent part of his adolescence living in a trailer in rural Maryland, where his mother, an environmental scientist, fashioned a device that turned cow manure into drinkable water. The striking video for “ULTIMA” has Taylor revisiting the same steel box he once called home, which is now swallowed in greenery. The clip centers around a performance where Taylor transposes his musical eclecticism to the realm of dance, letting off a routine that combines abstract and hip-hop styles (and will most definitely not take TikTok by storm anytime soon). The visual underlines another difference between Taylor and his ostensible peers: Whereas most hyperpop artists seemingly live subterranean existences solely lit by the glow of a laptop, here is Taylor, soaking in vitamin D through the trees, finding freedom with each bulging beat.