Review: Up next on Kerri Chandler's acclaimed imprint is the highly lauded Canadian act Art Department. Now solely comprised of Jonny White since the departure of Torontonian veteran Kenny Glasgow, the No. 19 Music boss has certainly changed his tune since going solo: The Breeding Ground EP's first two tracks "Industry" and "Exit To Eden" are tough rolling, roughed-up and well functional tools that take their cues from the current sound of UK tech house. He then goes stateside on the emotive deepness of 'Boa" which no doubt got the stamp of approval from Chandler himself as it follows in the man's own idiosyncratic style.
Normalizm (feat Lorenzo Dada - Nitin & Down 2 remix) - (5:58) 122 BPM
Review: Jonny White returns with a track that somehow manages to be minimal in feel yet boast the kind of sumptuous production that only comes from years of production experience. The Live Reversion is a far pacier take made for eyes-down, small-hours dancefloor action, while rerubs from Damian Lazarus and Clive Henry see both producers doing their thing in style, Lazarus taking us down an arty, abstract path while Henry serves up a cavernously deep, dubby pass for the darker rooms. Between the four mixes, it's hard to imagine many DJs that wouldn't be able to find a mix that works for their floors.
Review: Canadian duo Art Department have all the ingredients of success at their disposal: experience, reputation and, most importantly, hype. With the latter in full effect right now, it's safe to say that The Drawing Board, their debut full length, is one of the most anticipated house sets of 2011. So is it any good? Certainly, those who've already fallen in love with their touchy-feely, melancholy take on house will enjoy it immensely. Like the work of guest Seth Troxler's Visionquest (and, to some extent, Benoit & Sergio), there's a distinct melodic warmth to Art Department's shuffling beats, woozy electronics and half-whispered vocals. It's this, more than anything, which makes The Drawing Board worthwhile listening.
Review: For the first time in 2018, Canadian duo Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White don the Art Department alias and head for peak-time dancefloors. They begin with "Sour Jazz", where drowsy woodwind and brass samples tumble down over fizzing drum machine beats and thrillingly squidgy analogue bass. There's more of a muscular feel to the chunky, boompty-driven bump of "721" - think Derrick Carter via Sound Factory - while closer "Roots Deep", which boasts a preaching spoken word vocal from Roland Clark and contributions from Todd Terry, is a sleazy, acid-flecked late night delight blessed with some especially alien synth lines.
Review: In a collision of creative minds, Art Department have seemingly curated this release which sees Martina Topley Bird covering The XX's "Crystalised" with help from past collaborator Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees fame, as well as some instrumental input from Warpaint. The end result is a raw fusion of loose drums and prominent bass heavy with groove and rich in chemistry between the twin vocals, not to mention pleasantly free from sheen. There's also a sizable wedge of remixes from Frankie Knuckles as Director's Cut, Agoria and Deniz Kurtel, who all fashion the original into varying degrees of safe and sturdy house music.
Review: It's fair to say that melancholic house peddlers Art Department are on a roll right now. So much so in fact, that they have been invited to write the first official theme for the internationally acclaimed Robot Heart parties at Burning Man. Daunted by the task, the guys set about scoring a piece that would truly reflect the party's unique atmosphere. They've come up with an extraordinary eight-minute epic that pumps along under austere vocals by Damian Lazarus, before expanding into a fountain of sinister John Carpenter-esque synth work. If you fancy a sparser version, then BLUD's lean, mean houser is the one for you.
Review: It's a while since we last heard from sometime Crosstown Rebels and Wolf + Lamb regular Deniz Kurtel. In fact, this two-tracker for Art Department's No. 19 label is her first single for two years. The American is in typically introspective mood on "Deepression", a shuffling, quietly melodic stroll through Visionquest-style tactile house pastures. Pushed forward by an addictive bassline and melancholic sweeps, it's one of her finest productions for some time. She joins forces with Art Department on "Forgot Your Name", a similarly deep, swirling and emotion-rich dream-house journey that benefits greatly from the inclusion of Kurtel's own fragile, heartfelt vocals.
Review: More than any other dance label, Damian Lazarus's Crosstown Rebels has a knack of signing timeless house music. It's evident on this, the second Rebel Rave instalment, with Guti & Dubshape's "Every Cow Has a Bird" offering a classic sound, as a disco groove unfolds to reveal rolling bongos and jazzy piano keys, or on Subb-an's "Misleading", a glorious deep house arrangement with a garage groove. However, there are also some excellent reinventions of the house style; Jamie Jones's "Summertime" reveals a darker side to deep house as a menacing bass surges to the fore; Quenum's "Woman Talk About Woman" features a crazy vocal freestyle over a jazzy groove and best of all, Art Department's "Without You" sounds like a dislocated, paranoid update on Nu Groove's bassy tracks.