October 22, 2014

ART DEPARTMENT: Living The Life

Art Department: (from left) Kenny Glasgow & Jonny White.
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IT TAKES 2

As EDM Goes
Enormo,
Art Department’s
Dynamic Duo
Keeps the
Underground
Fires
Burning

Nearly three years on, the scene is oft-repeated. The pinging opening synth lines to Art Department’s “Without You” waft over a club sound system, and the crowd reacts with a knowing hum.

By the time the burbling bassline drops and Kenny Glasgow’s hazy, nearly disconnected vocal begins to plead, “I just can’t… no, I just can’t… make it without you,” the dancefloor has begun to heat up. The bumping groove locks in and hips are swaying. All the track’s elements are clear and perfect, yet somehow off-kilter and wonderfully warped for its 3-a.m. serving time.

Yes, it’s obvious that, in two-plus years since its late-2010 release—as a Crosstown Rebels “B-side,” no less—“Without You” has achieved classic status. It’s just going to be one of those tracks that never goes away. But, unlike plenty of others we know all too well, it’s doubtful to ever suffer from brain-deadening overexposure. Chalk that up as one of the pleasures of the underground.

Though it was Art Department’s initial single, the Toronto-based duo—Glasgow and Jonny White—were hardly new to the scene. Glasgow, a former resident DJ at Toronto’s seminal Industry club, had a track record of productions going back to 1993 on labels like Jinxx, Narcotic and the self-run imprint, Method 11/11. White, the son of a music-industry exec, began as a promoter, eventually began to produce and then, in 2008, launched his No. 19 Music label.

Glasgow and White hooked up professionally in 2009 when they were commissioned by Crosstown Rebels label chief Damian Lazarus to do a remix for Riz MC’s “Don’t Sleep.” Since then, Art Department has enjoyed an almost sainted existence within the global underground. After “Without You,” ultra-deep tracks like “We Call Love” (feat. Soul Clap and Osunlade) and “Touch You Gently” further excited tech-house jocks and many of AD’s singles were included on its 2011 artist debut, The Drawing Board (Crosstown Rebels). Additionally, AD’s remixes for “Hungry for the Power” by Azari & III and, more recently, “Tomorrow Can Wait” by Luca C & Brigante feat. Robert Owens have…
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