Released April 25th, 2011
Not since the likes of Daft Punk’s ‘Homework’ has there been such feverish anticipation for an album. Art Department have gone back to ‘The Drawing Board’ and rewritten the rules of house music for a new generation.
Art Department shook the world to attention with their debut in 2009, ‘Without You’. Named record of the year by Resident Advisor, Groove magazine in Germany, and coming in the top 5 for both Mixmag and DJ mag in the UK, the revolutionary duo who were pushed into the studio by Crosstown Rebels figurehead, Damian Lazarus, stepped into the limelight and began inspiring their peers.
Their often heartfelt and always inspiring sound has truly captured the imagination of the wider music community. Coined “gothic house” by DJ Mag UK, at its heart are beguiling basslines, deep-bleep synth foundations and the soothing croons of Kenny Glasgow. Like a haunting Robert Owens, his vocals connect deeply with the spirit of the current underground movement and his partnership with Jonny White as Art Department is changing its landscape.
‘The Drawing Board’ unmasks a pioneering ethos from this duo, whose quick rise to success has been unheard of to date. Featuring other contemporary stars such as Soul Clap, Osunlade and Seth Troxler, Art Department etch their profound lyrics (Living the life) into futuristic synth journeys (Roberts Cry) and raw urban rhythms (In The Mood) in ‘The Drawing Board’.
The result is a colourful tapestry and insightful musical vision. While they visibly pay homage to generational influences, from early Chicago house classics to quintessential hip-hop, their dynamic formula is inspiring for its purity and sincerity, and will no doubt be emulated by many future generations.
Art Department is the mutation of two of the most forward thinking producers from North America - house/ techno legend Kenny Glasgow and Canada’s fastest rising star and No.19 label owner - Jonny White. Both individuals have released countless critically acclaimed records and possess over three decades of experience between them.
Kenny Glasgow is constantly name-checked as one of the forefathers of house music. His credentials date back to the late 80’s and include productions on Tiga’s Turbo Recordings, Narcotic, Jinxx, his own Method 11/11 label. Seth Troxler vividly recalls his mixtapes being on repeat as a young teenager in Detroit. Jonny White’s blindingly fast-growing discography and revered No.19 Music label have propelled his rapid rise in the international circuit.
The pair, despite being close friends and stalwarts in the Toronto electronic music scene for years, had not joined forces in the studio until as recently as 2009, when Damian Lazarus called on them to remix a Riz MC track together for his prestigious Crosstown Rebels label. The result was the startof a new idea and direction for the duo, drawing cues from the best of both artists, and ultimately became the birth of Art Department.
At its backbone was the loose concept to invent a live DJ and vocal performance centred on their new ground breaking sound fusion and Kenny Glasgow’s unique and sublime vocals. His deep and rich tones had been heard ten years earlier on records like ‘Pressing On’, and when set in this new context become altogether more insightful and prophetic.
After considerable time locked in the studio the two emerged with an arsenal of musical bullets set to shatter electronic music as we know it. Damian immediately signed the material to Crosstown Rebels and his instincts were affirmed in the response to Art Department’s first ever live show at the 2010 WMC Crosstown Rebels event. With a sweet taste of anticipation hanging in the air, the duo met a welcome that matched the initial excitement for Mathew Jonson or Laurent Garnier at his peak. This was echoed in the forthcoming fever pitch activity of the following twelve months.
A year on and Art Department are confirmed to play their full debut live set at this year´s Get Lost event at Electric Pickle on March 26th with a global album tour to follow. Art Department have become one of the most in demand duo’s on the globe, taking their inventive concept and creative vision to new heights. But 2011 will be the year that introduces them as true artists without limitations as ‘The Drawing Board’ takes its golden place in musical history.
© Crosstown Rebels