DJ and production duo Pleasurekraft were conceived in 2009 by Kaveh Soroush and Kalle Ronngardh. Having hit the ground running with the global success of their first single, Tarantula, a string of EPs followed, cementing their reputation as prime movers on the Techno scene.
Prior to a string of appearances at Emmaboda Festival Sweden, I-Boat Bordeaux, Sisyphos Berlin and London’s SW4 Festival, as well as a substantial tour of South America, a new Pleasurekraft EP, All Bite No Bark, is released on 5th October through Octopus Recordings.
To celebrate the new EP, we sit down with Kaveh for an enthusiastic chat about the 10 albums that have changed his life. In his own words: “For those looking for new experiences, I present the following as my own personal top 10 albums of all time.”
Click through the gallery to discover Kaveh’s selections and find out why he chose them...
1. Tool - Ænima
“I could probably write a novel on the merits of Tool as one of music’s most important acts, but I won’t bore all the Techno heads out there that wouldn’t bother listening to a Metal album, although to even call Tool ‘Metal’ is already a mistake. The music can be hard and heavy at times, and yes, frontman Maynard James Keenan does raise his voice here and there, but like the best musicians it’s always the right amount at the right time.
“He often uses non-traditional time signatures within a single song, and the music is much more complex than anything that Tool’s peers dreamed up. The drummer Danny Carey is a huge jazz aficionado, and jazz rhythm patterns find their way into Tool’s music on almost every record. And Maynard can fucking sing. Period.
“Tool is probably the group that has influenced me the most on so many levels, not just musically, but because of how careful they were to never make the music about themselves. They understood that the music is the message, not the messenger.
“That’s something a lot of artists in our industry could learn a thing or two from. They ended up going so far as to alter their stage setup to have the lead singer standing BEHIND a screen to the side of the stage to highlight the insignificance of the classic ‘lead singer’ stereotype. Legends.”
2. Van Hunt - Van Hunt
“Van Hunt is a criminally under-appreciated multi-instrumentalist, singer songwriter and producer that oozes coolness, but make no mistake it’s backed up with substance. Influences come from Sly & the Family Stone, Prince and early Lenny Kravitz, but in the hands of such a gifted artist - in the truest sense of the word, he manages to come across as truly singular.
“It’s not just the music; his lyrics portray a maturity far ahead of any of his peers. Here’s an example of one of my favorite lines from Van Hunt’s Down Here in Hell (With You):
‘I love the battle lines we draw and cross in the mud.
I love it when we fight, standing on the verge of breaking up or makin love.
What would I do if we were perfect?
Where would I go for disappointment?
Love without pain would leave me wondering why I stay.’
“Painful truths have never sounded so sexy.”
3. Emmylou Harris - Wrecking Ball
“I remember walking down the main pedestrian street with Micke Nordgren of Tiger Stripes at the last BPM festival and somehow we got onto the topic of rock producer Daniel Lanois, most famous for his atmospheric soundscapes and featuring on U2’s The Joshua Tree. I was shocked that another dance music producer even knew who he was, but all we talked about was Lanois’ genius.
“Lanois produced Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking Ball in 1995. It’s an album made up of cover songs, some of which are well-known like Jimi Hendrix’ May this Be Love, and more esoteric folk ballads. It’s not just Harris’ unique voice that’s on display but the landscape Lanois creates for her. I’ve learned more about music by listening to Lanois’ productions than any other musician, particularly this album. If you have ears and a heart that beats, it should be in your collection.”
4. Paul Simon - Graceland
“This was recorded towards the end of South Africa’s infamous apartheid era. Simon originally received heaps of negative press accusing him of exploiting South Africa’s indigenous culture because many of his records featured some of South Africa’s greatest musicians. But like many of the world’s most important works of art, Graceland weathered the storm and is now widely regarded as one the greatest albums of all time, which is rightfully deserved in my opinion.
“If you’re interested in the historical issues surrounding the album’s release in ‘86, you should definitely check out a terrific documentary called Under African Skies. The lyrics from the album’s opening track set the listener up for recurring themes about the excitement of technological advances, juxtaposed with the societal perils presented near the end of Reagan’s Cold War.
“Whether it’s broad stroke ideas, or what can only be personal anecdotes from Simon’s own life, every track on the album is brimming with musical and lyrical poetry whose fusion of sound has yet to be rivalled.”
5. Tom Waits - Mule Variations
“Even if you stripped half the records off this album and just left the big, beautiful weepy ballads it would still make my top 10. There are songs on here that are so beautiful, and when sung with Waits’ distinctive razor blade/too-much-whisky vocals they gain even more weight and have on many occasions made me cry.
“Crying at a sad film is one thing, but when an artist can wield that same emotional power through their music, you know you’re in the hands of someone whose pain and wisdom are visceral. But it’s not all doom and gloom, Waits is actually famous for the humor and quick wit that shines through in so many of his records, like Chocolate Jesus, about a young boy’s search for spiritual salvation through his love of candy bars.
“There’s also a song on the album called Cold Water that won’t ever allow you to pass a homeless person without at least thinking about this song and what it must be like to walk in their shoes - if only for a second. While it’s certainly an acquired taste, for my money Mule Variations is absolutely incredible.”
6. Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown
“Not as popular as its more commercial predecessor, for me Come Around Sundown is a fuller and more satisfying musical experience. It’s full of emotion, with a sound that seems to really have a sense of place.
“The band is made up of three brothers and their cousin, with roots in Oklahoma and Tennessee - sons of a traveling preacher, and conjures up a musical landscape that certainly has plenty of arena rock avenues, but with rural detours that lend it a real emotional texture.
“It took me a while to get used to Caleb Followill’s voice, but after thousands of listens and ample time to let the lyrics seep in, it’s impossible to imagine that emotional power being wielded through anyone else.”
7. A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory
“This was the first cassette tape I ever bought with my allowance money, along with Black Box’s Dreamland - but let’s not go there lol. Of course, everyone jumped on the train when they heard Scenario, but the album’s full of gems like Infamous Date Rape, Check the Rhime, Jazz (We’ve Got) and Everything is Fair.
“They fused Jazz and Hip Hop in a way that had never been done, and with such brevity. It also carried a social consciousness without being preachy, with a unique, laid-back delivery - unlike NWA’s Straight Outta Compton. In my opinion, this remains the most important Hip Hop album ever recorded.”
8. Deftones - White Pony
“Imagine Jeff Mills playing one of his signature sets at 120bpm and you have an idea of the Metal equivalent of what the Deftones sound like. For the most part it’s heavy and slow; a wall of sound that can only be created by four Mexican Americans from Sacramento who smoke a lot of weed.
“Although they’ve released several solid albums, this one stands head and shoulders above the rest, with Knife Prty being the jewel in the crown.”
9. Radiohead - The Bends
“I know a lot of people reading this might baulk and say OK Computer is far superior, and you’d think that as someone making a living in electronic music I would agree since that album foreshadowed Radiohead’s entry into electronic soundscapes, but sometimes a great rock record is a great rock record and The Bends is just that.
“It’s satisfying in a more traditional way than OK Computer ever was. I guess I’m just a sucker for Thom Yorke’s guitar work more than I am his experimenting with different synths. I’ll take The Bends any day.”
10. Jean Michel Jarre - Oxygene
“First, if you’ve never heard of this album and you’re a Techno guy, do yourself a favour. Also, DO NOT YouTube it or listen to a clip somewhere [although we haveincluded it here just in case you cannot wait]. Download the whole thing and try not to peek at when it was made. Listen to it in one continuous sitting like you would a symphony, on speakers or headphones worthy of the task, and after you’ve done that a couple times, then, and only then, look and weep that this was made in 1977!
“It’s an analogue synth lover’s wet dream. It was widely shunned upon release, but as fate would have it, it’s now widely regarded as one of the most influential electronic albums of all time, and a must for all you Techno heads.”
Kaveh’s honorable mentions: Jeff Buckley - Grace, Tricky - Maxinquaye, Daniel Lanois - For the Beauty of Wynona, Drake - Take Care, Tool – Undertow, Tool - Lateralus, Radiohead - OK Computer, Sarah McLachlan - Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Miike Snow - Miike Snow, Stone Temple Pilots - Core, Prince - One Nite Alone Live!, N.E.R.D. - N.E.R.D., and Junior Boys - Last Exit.