Over the course of the latter 2010s, Kaveh Soroush and Kalle Ronngardh have been at the forefront of cosmic techno’s surging popularity. Both in their own releases as Pleasurekraft and the music they back on their Kraftek imprint, the duo has established a clear mission to purvey this mystifying, melodically cerebral brand of techno. They showcased it formidably in their 2018 debut album, Friends, Lovers, and Other Constellations, and now, have done so again in their sophomore LP, Love in the Age of Machines.
However, according to Soroush, cosmic techno’s musical intricacies, while necessary, take a backseat to the genre’s overarching soul. “Like the Trojan Horse from Homer’s Iliad,” he notes, “the music is simply a vessel to usher in philosophic and scientific questions and concepts about the nature of existence and our place in the Universe.”
Given the plethora of philosophical, mythological, and astronomical references that pervade the samples and titles of the Pleasurekraft and Kraftek oeuvres, this outlook (and Soroush’s choice of analogy) likely come as no surprise to the group’s completists. “While the production style and the presence of a melodic hook are key factors in the production of a ‘Cosmic Techno’ track,” he continues, “they are only the exterior designs of a vehicle used to transport a much more important idea to the listener, and it is this ethos that is of seminal interest to me.”
As such, it would appear that Love in the Age of Machines has arrived at an ideal time. While Ronngardh and Soroush, of course, lack the Delphic clairvoyance to have predicted the ongoing coronavirus pandemic while creating the album, its thematic framing was already primed to address an epochal shift such as the one we are all currently experiencing. Take, for example, the album’s opener, “The Last Sapien,” a piece which energetically embodies the key musical components of cosmic techno, while also thematically addressing the philosophical tenets which Pleasurekraft holds of the utmost importance
Such is the case for the record’s following 11 tracks, which see the duo pack philosophical, theoretical, and heavily political messages into the mellifluous, entrancing musical vessels which have catalyzed its popularity.
In keeping with Soroush’s Homeric analysis of the genre, the duo delivered Love in the Age of Machines to an unsuspecting public on streaming platforms nearly a month ahead of schedule. But, unlike the Trojans, we welcome Pleasurekraft’s sonic siege.
Stream the album on SoundCloud, Apple Music, or YouTube here.