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Andrew Duke--Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should (Cognition Audioworks, caw022, 2004)

Andrew Duke--Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should (caw022)


What if a city tore down a heritage building and put a parking lot in its place-but no one used it? What if gathered people stopped interacting--half talked on cellphones, the rest listened to loud music on CD/MP3 players?

Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should expands on the themes first explored by Andrew Duke on his Physical and Mental Health album (Folding/Dial, San Francisco, California, 2002) and "Environmental Politics" EP (and/OAR, Seattle, Washington, 2003). Collaborations are also featured: "Non-Constructive Construction" uses field recordings by Cornucopia's Jorge Castro in his home town in Puerto Rico; "Paradise Paving" (ironically, there is a company in the United States with this name) uses sounds recorded by Sandro "Polmo Polpo" Perri at an abandoned house he stumbled upon while wandering about Ontario; "Vinyl Hiss Voice" was recorded with America's Loam; and "Container Anxiety (version)" reworks a lengthy telephone conversation between Andrew Duke in Halifax Nova Scotia and Kim Cascone in Pacifica California in which discussed were, among other things, contrasts in media, quality vs. quantity, and organic vs. synthetic. Some of the tracks on Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should are rhythmic, some are ambient, most are combinations that hide detailed treatments; some are quite challenging to the ears, others more contemplative and relaxing. The title is open to interpretation; for the artist, though, it refers to the attitude the Halifax Regional Municipality (the HRM referred to in Physical and Mental Health's "HRM H20") takes--Duke's municipal and provincial government totally misses the natural aspects of Halifax that need to be preserved and--because it can, not because it should--wantonly approves new construction while letting historic houses slip into dis-use/repair, builds more roads instead of needed bikeways, gives residents tax refunds (in an election year, no less) while crying "we're too poor to invest in health care and build sewage treatment plants", and ignores the un/under-employed, the homeless, and seniors. Unfortunately, these symptoms are not those of a disease unique to Halifax. Sonically, the juxtapositions in the pieces mimic the "growth" of a city and the noise of humanity and industrial "progress" that threaten to wipe out the sounds of nature. In this age of increasing bombast-not just in sound, but in the other senses as well-are we humans in danger of losing our subtlety?


1. Non-Constructive Construction (3:37) with Cornucopia
2. Paradise Paving (4:30) with Polmo Polpo
3. Results Not Process (3:15)
4. PHC (3:35)
5. Boil Order (1:50)
6. Insidious (3:28)
7. Stone Skips 7 Times (4:28)
8. Tea Tree (4:39)
9. Vinyl Hiss Voice (4:23) with Loam
10. May Might Can Could (3:59)
11. Container Anxiety (version) (5:04) with Kim Cascone

reviews and feedback:

Ultra Belgium
Since this is about environmental decay and physical and mental deterioration as side-products of modern life, Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should is a darker, more experimental album than Andrew Duke's techno album, Sprung (released on France's Bip-Hop). "Boil Order", for instance, uses audio captures of a natural harbor into which untreated sewage is pumped. Such turnings of a thing of beauty into a rotten cesspool do not make an easy listen, however. Some of the album is quite hectic (e.g. "Results Not Process"), but there are quieter soundscapes too. All in all, this should make an excellent soundtrack to an avant garde hallucinatory documentary of what Alaska will soon look like. (Patrick Vandenberghe)

Weekly Dig Boston
It's a strange time for an electronic musician to put on an environmental guise, but veteran musician/radio host/writer Andrew Duke was never one to follow the rules of others. His ecological message to save Halifax's maritime resources is carefully hidden amongst creatively synthesized blips and a generous number of wind and water samples, with all elements polluting, processing, and cross-pollinating each other. Far from being New Age, Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should showcases an angry, dysfunctional Mother Nature at odds with her treatment--no easy harmony here. This is a very dark, deep ambient listen, one that requires you to pay close attention to hear Andrew Duke's music. The rewards, however, are certainly there. (Andrew Schrock)

Impressive tracks that range from dark ambient to processed field recordings to glitchy experimental material (including a murky tapestry that reminds me of a Coil-meets-Mego kind of sound) with my favorite track ("Boil Order") being one in which Andrew Duke samples and manipulates the sound of lapping waves. Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should is an unsettling dark ambient voyage that would fit perfectly with the best Lustmord can do. (Lance McGannon, Inaudible, USA; Microsound, IDM, and Ambient music mailing lists member, USA)

"Love your stuff. Very un-naturally natural, especially the subtly manipulated acoustic source stuff. The rhythms sound almost naturally occurring." (Jeff Klein, Microsound, IDM, and Ambient music mailing lists member, USA)

"Lots of great sound design. Thanks a lot for the music, we really enjoyed it. " (Joshua Kit Clayton & Sue Costabile; Orthlorng Musork, USA)

"You definitely know what you want to do and don't waste any time doing it, which is admirable. Good stuff." (Todd Hyman, Carpark, USA)

"Real original; crazy stuff. I like it. Reminds me a bit of Columbia Princeton Electronic Center stuff." (Doug Eisengrein, Remix, Hydrant, Sprout, USA)