2CD-R, Afe Records, 2007
Having been commissioned to do over 55 remixes, licensed more than 125 tracks to compilations and nominated for a handful of awards for his work in composing, producing and performing music, Andrew Duke also records and releases his own music, works on sound design for a range of media outlets and runs the Cognition Audioworks label and webzine. He even finds the time to tour regularly, playing his solo material and that of his jazz/improv group, the Andrew Duke Ensemble.
“From the Deep End” is a professionally produced double-CD-R set with beautifully serene deep blue artwork and features excerpts from four of Duke’s live shows between 2002 and 2004. None of the tracks have names and they are all mixed seamlessly to form a cohesive listening experience. On listening to this double album it becomes clear that Duke is meticulous in composing the sound that becomes his music. The construction of these tracks gives the impression of a man so deeply immersed in the meaning, structure and composition of sound that each individual element has its place and that he is a person always on the lookout for that ideal sound to use in some unnamed track he has yet to compose. Distinctly abstract and experimental in nature, Duke’s music may initially appear to be a series of weird sounds, but closer inspection it reveals a very definite order. Sometimes including a whirling patchwork of micro-sounds and electronic blips, bloops and glitches, and at others letting a sense of rhythm and more regular structure shine through, Duke illustrates his ability to encompass many styles of electronic music, from dub to abstract, whilst maintaining a core experimental theme. As none of his tracks have names, it is left to the listener to apply his or her own meaning and relevance to each composition whilst Duke creates an aural canvas from which an array of images can be drawn, dependent on personal perception. Although it is hard to tell from the recordings, the tracks are taken from different live performances, all of which must have been absorbing and intense experiences based the evidence presented here.
Duke’s music is generally meditative, to be absorbed and digested, deciphered and interpreted as you wish. There is undoubtedly a personal message, mood or feeling for Duke himself, but the music feels so intensely personal and carefully assembled that it deserves the listener’s full concentration and attention. Allowing yourself to be absorbed into the aural soundscape is definitely the key to experiencing Duke’s work to its fullest potential.
— Paul Lloyd