AK/DK: Shared Particles – album review
Little Miss Echo Recordings
Although the name seems to poke fun at the Australian pronunciation of AC/DC, the guess regarding the origin is misleading. AK/DK are a Brighton-based duo, Graham Sowerby and Ed Chivers. Their third LP Shared Particles explores the power of electricity, both literally and metaphorically.
Borrowing the “high-frequency” quality of its predecessor Patterns/Harmonics, the new album is yet less melody-driven. It is a kingdom of beats and structured arpeggio passages. Starting with a skidding sound of the synth, the introductory track Feeds gradually hurls into the turbulent hurricane. Explosive sonically, it triggers one’s imagination to elicit acid patterns similar to those on the cover. Seemingly alluding to the Big Bang theory, the Day-Glo artwork might be also a reference to the 70’s scene. While the band ironically mention Devo as an influence, there are certainly krautrock and new wave overtones invoking Kraftwerk and New Order.
The retrofuturistic feel in the music implies that the visual aspect is, indeed, integral. Using an abstract expressionist approach, AK/DK present an audial picture of space whether it is a cosmic realm or the inner world of a human being. Instead of brushstrokes, they employ syncopated arpeggios, occasionally howling synths and distantly sounding pad textures. Capturing various states from ecstasy to alienation, the album tackles a difficult task of uniting chaos and harmony.
Being intense performers, the band seemingly attempted to endow the record with the unrestrained energy of their live shows. Occasionally one might have a feeling of a constant bubbling as if it was a dancefloor trembling under his feet. Such intensity of sound sometimes feels overwhelming. Yet tracks with milder pace and airier texture, such as Hot Mist and Draggin’, give you a chance to catch your breath.
Altogether Shared Particles reminds us that ideas are in the air. The bubbling synths and motoric beats in the title song sound as a nod towards the same influences that inspired Incidental Music, the debut album by W.H. Lung. Somehow it doesn’t come as a surprise to know that the Manchester-based compatriots did a remix of the track. Sometimes equally charged particles unite despite laws of physics.
Shared Particles is available on AK/DK’s Bandcamp.
All words by Irina Shtreis. More writing by Irina can be found at her author’s archive.