There's nothing particularly subtle about AK/DK, nor much in the way of pretence either. Much like Krautrock kings Kraftwerk who named their albums with titles such as Autobahn, Machine Music and Computer World, they wear it on their sleeves, even to the extent of displaying their loved synths, pedals, and other tools and gadgets they employ in trade of music making (along with the clothes they wear…).
Following vintage sounding ambient synth waves of the brief opening trace 'Introduction', AK/DK get down to business with 'Maxwell's Waves', setting the table as it were, with driving and repetitive, synths. Live drums provide the groove-laden backbone; it's where synth-dance pioneer Georgio Moroder meets the rawer, disco-punk of DFA and LCD. Following track 'Random Resonant Arp Disco' takes in some subtle influences from Krautrock before ratcheting up the distortion amid the steady synth melody lines and the bleeps and whirls deeply embedded in the mix.
'Modular' is a crushing, furious beast of a 'song', acid-tinged in places, double drumming driving it along, while 'Autoservice' is more ambient fair, synths bleeping, fluttering and drifting along while what sounds like a melodica ekes out a melody, before closing with the deep sound of a synth and the duo talking and flicking switches in the studio… It's this playfulness about AK/DK that has been a key factor in their growing popularity as a live act, replicated (as well as could be expected here) on record; although the use of a megaphone, a feature of the live show, is almost non-existent except for some unintelligible 'singing' on the epic 'Toucan Tango'.
Synths + Drums + Noise + Surface has been made with the stage in mind; somewhat improvised, and with apparently few edits, it's a good representation of their live shows, which are energetic, high protein affairs that aim to get you moving, nay even noshing, such is their fierce yet rhythmic sound. But the album does the right thing by interspersing some of the heavily distorted noise with gentler electronic grooves and textures with album closer with the Orbesque 'Seq and You Shall Find' providing a suitably calming finale.