Review: Art Department – Sun Comes Up EP

No.19 Music is at it again. After their release of Eric Volta’s game changing ‘Love Your Illusion EP’, they now have another significant cut coming out, that’s to be released Monday next week. We’re talking about ‘Sun Comes Up EP’ by the Canadian underground pioneers of Art Department.

Art Department is the brainchild of Canadian techno/house legend Kenny Glasgow and No.19 label owner Jonny White. As individuals both Kenny and Jonny have released countless critically acclaimed records and are regarded internationally as two of the most forward thinking, revolutionary underground producers out of North America. Kenny’s credentials date back to the late 80’s and include productions on Narcotic, Jinxx, his own Method 11/11 label and Turbo. Whilst White’s revered No.19 Music label along side a blindingly fast-growing discography have seen him rapidly rise to the forefront of the international scene.

The pair, despite being close friends and stalwarts in the Toronto electronic music scene for years, had not joined until 2009, when Damian Lazarus called on them to remix Riz MC for his Crosstown Rebels Imprint. The result was an entirely new sound that drew cues from the best of both artists. It was a futuristic and raw, synth-driven, underground masterpiece, the start of a new idea and the birth of Art Department.

The rest is history. Their project skyrocketed within a short period of time, with more releases on Crosstown rebels and numerous others on labels like, Defected, 2020Vision, Hot Creations and My Favorite Robot Records to name a few. Next to that, they have been selling out venues across literally the entire world (their counter is now on 38 countries played). There’s no need to say that these guys are on the rise, they’ve already made it to the top of the heap. So what about their upcoming release ‘Sun Comes Up’, have they been able to come out of the studio with something that’s in line quality-wise with their previous work? The answer is undoubtedly yes, they have.

The original mix to Sun Comes Up starts off with a nice full kick, clipped hats and soft snare hits, that role out a deadly simple, yet effective and captivating bass line that sets a rather ominous tone. The fragile male vocal solidifies the sinister atmosphere. As “The sun comes up, the sun goes down” is repeated, other elements are added, like soft, groovy synth stabs that create a cool connotation, or the surprising twist in the percussion, when heavy drum strikes enter the formula, echoing over the mellow vibe of the track’s core.  These and other unexpected turns give ‘Sun Comes Up’ a multidimensional feel, and certainly cannot be pigeonholed into a type of genre, like any truly great piece of electronic music.

What follows is the Mind Againt ‘909 Remix’, which occupies a more elaborate and energetic drum pattern, appearing somewhat exotic. The bass line too is more intricate, but does keep a low profile like the original. What dominates, however, is a set of pitched, staccato synth melodies that sound a bit like Acid on tranquilizers, calmed down and really fresh. The guys of Mind Against have stripped the track down in its entirety and have turned it into something completely new, with only the vocals remaining untouched. We would have expected nothing less of these gentlemen who aren’t undeserving in their studio skills either.

Even though it’s just two tracks, Sun Comes Up packs more originality to it than some entire albums do. The cut is another landmark release by No.19, and shows that Art Department and their colleagues Mind Against are at the frontier of today’s underground sound.

On December 7th, Art Department will play at Time Warp, a huge event with a line up has made many jaws drop, with only the biggest names in house and techno. Just a few other names: Oliver Koletzki, Nick Curly, Mano le Tough, Subb-An, Andhim, and in the techno camp you can find DJs like ‘papa’ Sven Väth, Loco Dice, Pan-Pot, Karotte and Marcel Dettman. They will all be performing in an equally huge venue: Jaarbeurs Utrecht. Be sure to check it out!

Artist Page

 1. Sun Comes Up (original mix)

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/119632529″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

2. Sun Comes Up (Mind Against ‘909 Remix’)

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/119628811″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]