Laika, The Astro-Hound, a synth project out of Pittsburgh, recently released a concept album that plays like a Black Mirror episode.
The liner notes on Curing Death introduce the concept of “death insurance robots,” artificial beings primed to discreetly step in once your loved one dies, with you, the happy customer, none the wiser. These robots would essentially eliminate the need for grief. Sounds great, right!? Maybe not so much, argues Laika, The Astro-Hound’s Sean T. Jackson, who, along with collaborator Matt Miller, spends much of Curing Death exploring the relationship between humanity and technology, singing of technocratic corporations, “soulless rebirth,” emotions that flit across a screen in a barrage of 1s and 0s. “Man on the Moon 2.0,” a waltzing music hall number that builds to a mournful, droning climax, describes a scientific breakthrough that allows for “an end to the need to put minds in the ground.” Your body will still be buried, but your consciousness–or an approximation of it–will continue to animate the cyborg version of yourself. As Jackson’s human singing voice is gradually matched, then overtaken, by a computerized echo, he ponders a future of “the ones that we love saying ‘I’ll be home soon,’ and knowing that nothing could possibly go wrong.” Just ignore the dull, metallic gleam in their eyes once they return, and you’ll live happily ever after.