Hailing from Brighton, AK/DK is a two piece outfit that use pinpoint percussion and a myriad of 8-bit noises with a healthy dose of improvisation to create high energy synthpunk. The title of their first full length LP, Synths + Drums + Noise + Space, serves as a perfect description for their sound; one which builds upon the work of pioneers such as Can, NEU!, Suicide, and Kraftwerk. On Friday, the band played one of London’s great watering holes, The Lexington, along with Flamingods and Don’t Argue.
The most striking aspect of their performance is the way the duo manages to make use of two drum kits to create these hypnotic grooves which walk a line between pulsating dance beats and abrasive punk rock rhythms. The duo turn the dual drum kits into more than just a gimmick, as they take the concept into new territory by supplementing their percussion with an arsenal of pedal, pads and growling vintage synths. The resulting sound is something similar to the Super Mario Bros. theme song if the guys at Nintendo had just been on a week long drug binge.
The duo display incredible talent for finding a groove, and riding it for as long as possible. Just when you think they are comfortable and things get repetitive, everything changes as manic disco synth riffs break out over ambient atmospheres, as the mechanical dance floor beats open up to organic improvisation. This is electronic music the way it’s supposed to be; no formulas, no gimmicks, no clichés.
Throughout their set, AK/DK had the crowd buzzing; not one soul was standing still, no one staring at their phones, no one trying to talk over the music. It’s great to see a band that looks like their having a good time, and it’s even better when you see the crowd feeding off the energy of the performance. You can try as hard as you like, but you’ll find yourself with a big stupid smile on your face as you bounce along to the 8-bit riffs.