Based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canadian electronica artist Andrew Duke has been active since the 1980s as a music writer, radio producer, webmaster, and recording artist. He kept mostly to himself, self-releasing his albums quietly, until the late-'90s when the experimental electronica culture boomed. Since then, he has been multiplying compilation appearances, collaborations, remixes, and live performances. He has recorded for Bip-Hop, Staalplaat, Dial, and his own Cognition Audioworks among many others. His brand of intelligent dance music borrows from glitch and the experimental scene but still focuses on a certain entertainment value that can occasionally translate to humor without getting downright light.
Duke began to write about music in 1981, first in Halifax, Montreal, and Toronto papers. In 1987 he began to host Andrew Duke's In the Mix, an electronica radio show aired on CKDU in Halifax, still going by 2002 and syndicated around the world. Around the same time he recorded his first tunes and founded Incognito Musique and Digitalis Recordings, a label he operated until 1990. Out of its ashes rose Cognition Audioworks. Communion, his first album of note, came out in 1993, followed in 1994 by Ashes and Ceremony, the first installment in an ecologically aware trilogy. The labels Matrix (U.S.A.), Enlightenment (U.K.), and Surreal Sound (Belgium) released his first non-Cognition tracks in the same period, but things remained very quiet despite a string of self-released EPs and full-lengths.
By the end of the '90s, as the electronica movement was booming, Duke's name began to circulate more widely. The French label Bip-Hop, among others, gave him exposure in its Bip-Hop Generation series, which led to the release of Sprung in early 2002, his first full-length album on a label other than his own. Physical and Mental Health (on Dial) and More Destructive Than Organized (on Staalplaat's imprint Bake) came out during the year to complete his trilogy. The limited-edition Highest Common Denominator (on Piehead) culls collaborations that sprung from his Canadian tour that summer. ~ François Couture