top of page

PREMIERE: Duke Hugh - Transmissions (for San-kofa Rhythm Records)

🎵 | Duke Hugh - Transmissions

💫 | Highlife

👏🏾 | Lucas Benjamin, Mo Wrights

It's been only 3 weeks since Lucas penned a piece on Duke Hugh's long-awaited Common Grounds EP. In it, he opened with the statement that 'Duke Hugh is one of our favorite Dutch producers'. Today we're contributing to that statement by premiering his new track Transmissions, from a seminal upcoming VA compilation by San-kofa Rhythm Records.

The multi-instrumentalist and DJ provides a groove-oriented mid-tempo tune, turning over a new leaf. His signature soulful house sound trades places for a more Highlife or Afro-beat aesthetic. Dominated by rhythmic guitar riffs and a round bassline and topped off with clavinet, guitar and Rhodes melodies, Hugh illustrates just how sophisticated his sound and taste in music are.

But what would a Duke Hugh track be without a little broken-beat? The drums are organic,

and emphasize the rhythm ever further, making it very difficult to remain seated as you're listening. Even though the tune is relatively short, there is a story unfolding in the 2:45 min, with some hints of Ebo Taylor in there somewhere as a possible small nod to the Ghanaian name of the label.

Pay close attention to the way this track is mixed. It's just one of many examples of how mixers and engineers emulate a studio session vibe. Transmissions almost feels as if there are various Dukes jamming in the studio, simultaneously. This is also due to his keen arrangement skills, which you can hear in his previous work.

The Belgian-Dutch connect

Transmissions is a third single from the upcoming compilation Black Gravity Rhythms Vol. 001. The Dutch-Belgian connect grows even stronger, as the VA is assembled by DTM Funk and AliA (more on them soon). The compilation is a nod and an ode to the ever-forward-thinking Herbie Hancock and his amazing tune Black Gravity, released in 2001. Give it a spin below, you might be surprised by this one...

Not necessarily the first thing you'd expect when you think of Herbie, no? I was blown away by it as well. Herbie might even be the embodiment of what Steppin' Into Tomorrow stands for and DTM Funk and AliA interpret his ethos in their own way. If this is the focal inspiration for the VA compilation, then San-Kofa Rhythm Records is surely treating us with something tasteful. Duke Hugh's track we're premiering today is already proof of that. Listen to the other releases below and pre-order here while you're at it. The complication releases in two weeks.

Duke who?

Duke Hugh is a multi-instrumentalist, producer & DJ who hails from the north of the Netherlands and is located in the city of Groningen. His first 'Canvas' EP (an ode to the club on the 7th floor of the Volkshotel in Amsterdam) saw its release on Rhythm Section International. This was just the springboard Duke somersaulted off into the music scene. Not long after, features on Eglo Records and Music of Color followed, seeing support by Gilles Peterson, Alexander Nut, Bradley Zero, Red Greg, Sassy J, amongst others (you know, the top-selectors). With this different direction of Transmissions, we're sure (and proud) that Duke proves himself (once more) as one of the Netherland's finest producers.

Steppin' Into Tomorrow stands with artists & labels and encourages listeners to support by buying their music directly from Bandcamp.


James Brown
bottom of page