Andrew Duke
Sprung

By Miles Hawthorn

 
Reviewing records I imagine is like exploring caves; you shine your light in and are never quite sure what you are going to find. Often you feel disappointed and let down but occasionally you turn up something surprisingly exciting. This is one of those great finds I am glad to say.

The album opens with a cracking electro track comprising immense, dirty beats and a great tape rewind noise. From there on it is slightly more experimental, diving into the most scuzzy, primordial grunge funk via lupine synth howls and driving, microbic noise.

The press release says Andrew Duke has been compared to Autechre, Coil and Techno Animal amongst others, but to me it sounds most like Unit Moebius, in particular their two releases on Crossfade Entertainment. The tracks almost all revolve around a constant 4/4 flat beat, the rhythms evolving from crazed and unsettling sounds and devious, skewed percussion. They are minimal and subtle, exploring tones and timbres that warp the mind like only the most interesting frequencies can. Track four has that classic demented fairground feel that does it for me every time and all the tracks possess that little bit extra imagination that sets this apart. There is also a distinct reptilian feel to this; it sounds like the start of spring when the frogs and toads come out – in fact track nine sounds like the Frog Chorus on acid.

This album is the aural equivalent of running your fingernails across a blackboard: kind of unpleasant but exciting and unique sounding.
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