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Andrew Duke--More Destructive Than Organized (Cognition Audioworks, caw021, 2004);
licensed to Bake Records/Staalplaat (The Netherlands); Bake Records 059

Andrew Duke--More Destructive Than Organized (caw021)


More Destructive Than Organized is the last piece in a trilogy that began with Ashes and Ceremony (Cognition Audioworks, caw009, 1994) and continued with Physical and Mental Health (Dial, 2002). More Destructive Than Organized and Physical and Mental Health feature design and packaging by the Berlin-based artist Nathaniel Hamon (, known for his work for labels including Dimitri "Phthalocyanine" Fergadis' Phthalo, Mike Donovan's Dial, and Joshua Kit Clayton and Sue Costabile's Orthlorng Musork.

The theme of the series is physical and mental deterioration and disintegration, both on the personal and impersonal levels. The title More Destructive Than Organized may convey an aggressive sound, but the results are subtle, thought-provoking, and dynamic. By using minimal drone material blended with a bleeding-in-from-somewhere-else background wash and mixing in many elements at a low volume, this project will be experienced differently by those listening on speakers versus those listening on headphones.

Issues explored include the psychological impact of a variety of circumstances on the individual and society in general. Some of these issues are stress, illness, aging, death, religion, ritual and war--unfortunately timely in this era. Of particular importance in this project is the effect armed conflict and media reports about it, have on both military and civilian members of society on levels much deeper than the obvious (physical injuries, death and destruction). The inspiration for 1994's Ashes and Ceremony album, as well as a techno track released later on Detroit's Matrix Records, was numerous documentaries on how living with war affects people, especially young people, on a level we can't easily see--the inner level-and exploring the demoralization associated with it.

We destroy ourselves and the world through our rituals and beliefs. While stress, illness, aging, and death are unavoidable, why do we insist on furthering our deterioration through conflict and over-consumption?


1. TenNine (6:00)
2. EightSeven (6:00) with i8u
3. SixFive (6:00)
4. FourThree (6:00)
5. TwoOne (24:00)
6. Zero (12:00)

reviews and feedback:

Wreck This Mess The Netherlands
More Destructive Than Organized, like the work of John Bennett, shows the fragility of objects, events, and circumstances. It is a visceral and confrontational document of how sounds (representing historical events) decay and decompress and explode and defy meaning--"death, religion, ritual, and war." No dancing in the aisles, but some dancing of the digestive tract. This is the sound of a society collapsing around its own illusions. Recommended. (Bart Plantenga)

All-Music Guide USA
This album rounds up a trilogy started with Ashes and Ceremony (1994) and continued in Physical and Mental Health (2002). In it, Andrew Duke moves far away from the minimal techno of Sprung to delve into rhythm-less sound art of an unsuspected power. The series was first inspired by a reaction on consumerism and later evolved into a reflection on the physical and mental stress and illness brought by war. More Destructive Than Organized revisits material from the other two albums, pushing it deeper into war territory. The low booms and rumbles in "TwoOne" (downright frightening if your sound system is equipped with a sub-woofer) will make you understand how unnerving a deluge of bombs can be for local inhabitants. The track also includes sounds that seem to be derived from helicopters, airplanes and sirens. Then again, the sound sources may not be war-related at all, but Duke sure leads our imagination into thinking they are. Gripping, the piece stands somewhere between a fantasized audio documentary and a plea. Among its layers of digitally altered sounds, "FourThree" pairs a fragile piano melody with military communications and a mourning trumpet call to great effect. The exact duration of the pieces seem too architecturally sound to be the result of a coincidence, but Duke's motivations remain secret. This album came out before the US war against Iraq was launched, but at a time when it was easily foreseeable. Let it be clear that Duke is not turning war into a work of art. There is hardly anything beautiful about this album, but its intensity and provocation are through the roof. (François Couture)

Exclaim Toronto
The latest work from the man behind the East Coast electronic music scene, More Destructive Than Organized is an experimental, a-structural, electro-acoustic recording that features a mixture of raw and processed field recordings along with abstract sound generation. "TwoOne" sounds like a power dam on the fritz barely holding back a massive flood of water. All these pieces seem perfectly suited for the soundtrack of a science or nature documentary. It is enjoyable to listen to the work of an artist who keeps his music varied and fresh. (I. Khider)

Stylus Winnipeg
Further to Andrew Duke's audio discussion of environmental poison and human over-consumption (Ashes and Ceremony, Physical and Mental Health) is his More Destructive Than Organized album. This is an exploration of roaring dark sound elements. Air-filled buzzes intermingle with the tip-toe of piano sounds and taps ("FourThree") and found-sound samples are treated with an intensive system of delivery. More Destructive Than Organized is definitely for those who lean to the dark and intelligent side of ambience. (Deanna Radford)

Nightwaves Saint John
Here we have yet another masterstroke of sound from Halifax's own Andrew Duke. More Destructive Than Organized is an alien exploration of sound, full of weird ambience. From the get go, an eerie tone is set-this album takes you into an empty, unexplored landscape. Duke proves to once again be a great tour guide. Overall, this is scratchy and provocative. When an element of melody comes in on "FourThree", it is totally unexpected. Only Duke could make something so empty sound so full of life. This sounds like a soundtrack for empty rooms in nuclear power plants. (Gary Flanagan)

More Destructive Than Organized would sound wonderful in an installation without some other art object. A room--nondescript--awash in these manipulated samples of what once were not affected by framing by being recorded. Almost like a representation of Bohr's postulation that in the act of observing, you alter the thing you observe. Here it's as though the act of capturing sounds altered them and hearing them within the confines of a room would be a commentary on quantum physics or the invasiveness of mankind. I like having this on in the background. "TenNine" reminds me simultaneously of Francis Dhomont's quieter moments and the beginning of a Vladislav Delay live set. No, wait, Laminar on Mego. It strikes me more as a performance piece or installation accompaniment. Would like to hear it in a cavernous warehouse on a damp night or The Anchorage in New York; Techno Animal really tore the place up with something akin to this (though more rhythmically-motivated). The length of "TwoOne" is daunting, yet as a whole it's quite fulfilling of its own seemingly amorphous structure. This moves spectrally. I enjoy the wispy quality of it. This, like the others, would fill a room. More Destructive Than Organized sounds to be a seizing of music meant primarily to be experienced in the live in a setting for which the music was created or which reflects the emotional tone of the music. It is too personal to be easily transferable to any living room-or any radio station--and understood. I get nuances, suggestions of climate, of place and location, of human brooding that my rather warm and sunny listening room in Austin simply cannot justly recreate. It's a quality I find in many Scandinavian recording artists--not all, but some. There's a strong sense of place in the music that, while evocative and inspiring, beckons nevertheless to be played and best understood in its native environment. Meaning: I like it. Now I want to see Nova Scotia and hear this music up there. (Heath K. Hignight, writer for Grooves, XLR8R, Alternative Press, and other magazines, USA)

"I enjoyed the music quite a bit. You've done some very inventive sound manipulation, resulting in distinctive textures and atmospheres. Your disc stands out as one of the better examples of this style of electronic music." (Dave Segal; former managing editor, Alternative Press, USA)

"My mind was caught by elements in each piece that made me go back and listen a few times. I enjoyed the work a lot." (Denise Benson, host of Mental Chatter radio/net show; writer for Eye Weekly, Exclaim! and other magazines, Canada)

"Good stuff." (Philip Sherburne, writer for The Wire, XLR8R, Alternative Press, and other magazines, USA)

"An interesting and unusual use of sounds, pushing the levels to the point where they break and weird stuff happens, building hypnotic cross-currents amongst the wash. When in the right state of mind these tracks push and pull with tremendous gravity; a wild ride indeed! And my speakers are definitely getting a work out--tons of low end! The evolution in these studies is interesting; the changes in processing over time provide some variety and movement, which I like." (Michael Bentley, The Foundry, USA)

"Deep and organic. Reminds me a bit of Zoviet France and Lustmord." (Martin Dumais, Hautec, Canada)

"I thought the stuff was really nice, especially for night time listening." (Nate Harrison, Toshoklabs, USA)

"Your music definitely has a place in the electronic music scene." (Allen "Mannequin Lung" Avanessian, Plug Research, ~scape, USA)

"A very nice and intriguing listen!" (Mike Martinez, Deluxe, Mille Plateaux, USA)

"It's great to relax with. I will be mixing this material with other tracks during the show." (Pietro Da Sacco;, host of Digital Nimbus radio/net show, writer for various magazines, Tundra Music, USA)

"More Destructive Than Organized teeters right on the edge of ambient and something that demands the attention of the listener. We are enjoying the material." (Eric and Daniel, Mad Monkey, De Los Seite, Circumvent, USA)