Sci-fi optimism with Anastasia Kristensen

The Danish techno maverick is launching a new label shrugging off reality woes and leaning in on imagined futures with optimism and boisterous kicks.

We’re not short of new releases reflecting on the current challenges facing humanity. Whether it’s pervading inequality, looming environmental collapse, pandemic fallout or mental health fragility, the future is shaky and artists are responding in kind. Let’s hear it for Anastasia Kristensen, then, who has opted to respond to our present moment by suggesting we shrug off the looming dystopian malaise for a minute and embrace a little hope with the help of some thunderous club music. The Danish DJ-producer has long been emblematic of Copenhagen’s particularly fierce take on the techno tradition, but it’s worth pointing out she’s always matched intensity with subtlety and fresh ideas, not least in her own productions for Arcola and Houndstooth.

Now Kristensen is launching a new label called absorb emit which is reportedly geared towards “a romanticised future, free of climate disaster.” It’s optimistic, sure, but given the stakes and the non-existent rate of change, perhaps it’s also helpful to give our embattled brains a break for a minute and dream that maybe this will all work out in the end. Nodding to Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and The Last Of Us as reference points for her new record Cordyceps Disco, Kristensen isn’t blindly embracing apathy or technology as the answer to our problems, and there’s an underlying bite of irony around the edges of her new premise, but what these four new tracks suggest is that maybe it’s OK to use a little blind faith to inspire a more effective escape on the dancefloor right here in the present moment. And if the soundtrack comes on like a limber, futuristic slant on upfront techno in the process, then all the better.

The EP is a tonne o’ fun, absolutely direct and geared towards the floor but also quivering and shaking with nuanced sound design and arch sonic ingredients. The AI poet extolling its (her?) passionate intentions by flipping Elizabeth Barrett Browning on the title track is proof enough Kristensen isn’t serving up this rumination on the future with po-faced sterility. Sure, everything’s a mess, but we need to find ways to escape as well as engage, and records like this are just the ticket.

Cordyceps Disco is out November 14 on absorb emit.
Photo credit: Laura Dester