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Andrew Duke/Akumu


>Despite being a well-known musician, Andrew Duke doesn't feel himself to be too good for CDR only releases, as he proofed in the past with his release on Bake Records and now with this latest addition to the Split series on Cohort Records. He shares it with Akumu, of whom I never heard. In his thirty minutes, Duke presents ten tracks, more or less all quite short (between less than a minute up to four minutes), working in the realms of deep and atmospheric tunes. Here the emphasis lies less on using rhythm, but there are some loops there. Not made with rhythm machines, but rather looped acoustic sounds, such as the sound of bottles. But they form only the icing on the cake, as for the bigger part these tracks are deeply atmospheric and highly experimental. It's not the kind of ambient music to lull the listener to sleep, but highly processed electro-acoustic sound material, transformed to great ambient textures. Akumu has three lengthy tracks. As said I don't know much about him. His three pieces are however great examples of digital drone music. Richly textured humming about with a rather minimal set of sounds. In each of three pieces things slowly built up, adding changes and sounds, usually small clicking sounds. Especially in 'Structure 6' this works rather well. Nothing much new under the drone sun, but Akumu plays his pieces with great care, skill and with a keen eye for structuring his pieces. (Vital, FdW)

>I always appreciate Cohort’s will to present non-commercial electronic music from all over the world, even at the price of a few minor releases. But the good ones are REALLY good, and this is one of them. Andrew Duke, who is a renowned composer active in many different media, is here represented by a series of relatively dark tracks which feature quite a lot of spontaneous instrumental generation, in addition to Andrew’s obvious technical skills. Deceitful patterns and clashing reverberations release inexhaustible, mind-dislocating clouds of frequencies that contrast – or get married to – hypnotic vicious circles in an unpredictable kinship with hypothetical altered states of mind. Headphones are recommended to catch every minute detail, as Duke works at the margins of the audio spectrum to deliver his brand of electronica from any preconceived interpretation, virtualizing events with the equidistant calm of a neutral observer. Dean Hughes (Akumu) is even more obscure, entrancing and – contrarily to what the titles might suggest – organic. His three tracks are long explorations of the psyche through a mass of extremely resonant low drones that suggest no other behavior than a total relinquishment of our will to penetrate their structure (no pun intended). For my own taste, this is the best half of this split album, bringing memories of current masters of the genre (Frans De Waard’s Shifts and Freiband projects come to mind) through a masterful modulation of our sensitive apparata. But the whole CD is excellent, and it would be unjust on my behalf dividing the artists’ merits. (Touching Extremes)

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