Duke Special has announced further details about his 4th studio album ‘Look Out Machines!’ will be released April 6th 2015 on Stranger Records. The Ulster born singer songwriter and gramophone impresario, has superbly crafted this new collection of catchy, rousing and lyrically poignant tracks.
‘Look Out Machines!’ sees Duke exploring new musical ground with collaborators including Iain Archer, Phil Wilkinson and Gary Clark and heralds the return of an artist back at the very top of his game; a major difference between his recent output and this album is that, for the most part, Duke has placed himself in the first-person with these songs. The obvious result is a more personal album. Yet as vulnerable as he may be, the spectacular ‘In a Dive’ betrays his inner defiance. “‘I refuse a safety net,” he croons over a beautiful, elegant piano riff, while the sweeping, elegiac ‘Domino’ draws the album to a close on a redemptive note.
The sense of creative derring-do and openness to all possibilities permeates the musical arrangements, too resulting in his most eclectic, unexpected release to date. He himself says “This album is a photograph of where I am right now; it feels like a kind of gathering-in. I’m not quite sure how to describe it. What’s the word where you stay in one place to recharge your batteries, and then you’re ready to go again? It feels like that; almost like a little launching-pad.”
Those who know Duke Special for the platinum album ‘Songs From The Deep Forest‘, and the hit song ‘Freewheel’, may be surprised by the cultural breadth of his work. His immense creative talents have seen him involved in projects as diverse as writing the theme tune for the Irish Sesame Street to writing the music for and appearing in Deborah Warner’s critically acclaimed 2009 production of Bertolt Brecht’s ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’ at London’sNational Theatre. From presenting a documentary on the life and times of 50s megastar Ruby Murray to being commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to write a series of original songs based on photographs for their exhibition of the photographers Stieglitz, Steichen, and Strand. From performing with orchestras such as the Ulster and RTE Concert orchestras, to finishing an unfinished musical by Kurt Weill based on the novel Huckleberry Finn.
Duke has partnered for a second time with fan funding platform Pledge Music to help finance the making of the record. The campaign quickly surpassed its target figure by offering a variety of exclusive items, such as signed CDs, personal house concerts, plus the opportunity to join Duke in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most concerts performed in 24 hours! The record currently stands at 65 shows.
‘Look Out Machines!’ is an epic album from a unique artist. It’s a grand gesture of a record that displays a rare and timeless quality and speaks with a refined eloquence.
At the end of 2014, Duke gave fans a teaser taste of how the new material on Look Out Machines would sound as he shared the first single from the album ‘Elephant Graveyard’, accompanied by surreal clay-model animation video that features our hero Duke cavaliering through space and time. The video can be watched in full here: