The Drawing Board – Art Department (Crosstown Rebels/Inertia)


Detroit history obviously has had a profound influence on Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White, the producers behind Art Department. The Drawing Board is first full length release from the pair and feels unpretentious, and this works to the albums advantage. It makes it blindly enjoyable. Full of mesmerizing four-on-the-floor based rhythms, and bubbly bass lines. The first track “Much too much” is an epic ten minute affair, with echos of the previously mentioned Detroit scene. The drum track sounds like a drum machine, with its strangely grooved hats and poppy tom sounds. The bouncy bassline drives the track, the vocals of Kenny Glasgow sit over this arrangement, occasionally interjected by a squeaky lead synth. This track is too long, however it allows the listener to give themselves to the record. “Tell me why (part 1)” begins with a heavy beat with chopped up bongos in the background. Over the beat is a repetitive bleepy hook. When the bassline hits and the vocal begin, it is again very reminiscent of the eighties Detroit scene. To reiterate this is not a bad thing.

“We call love” features Soul clap and Osunlade and is the strongest track of the album. The vocals are well executed, and the track becomes quite infectious. The depth that the two guests add is noticeable.

The synthesized sounds used throughout the album sound analogue, although it is hard to tell with the software modelers now available. The analogue sounds helps this album connect with its clear influences and lineage, and complements mechanical rhythms.

This album also has some negative aspects. The lyrical content is generally poor. Often singing about love or hardship, the lyrics just go on and on. The third tracks production is really enjoyable, however with lyrics such as “if so…good for you…keep doing what you doing… I’ll be sure to read the book when it comes out,” it becomes increasingly hard not to let them blemish good tracks. The tracks also go for far too long. With eight of the eleven tracks going over six minutes, the album becomes a little laborious. This is understanding that the genre requires long introductions for mixing purposes. It might have been worth while having DJ edits. It also feels that the tracks themselves end with no connection between the next track.

Art Department have created an album that is enjoyable and fun. It is not going to change lives or redefine genre boundaries, the pair merely execute what they do well. Sometimes this is enough to make a highly enjoyable album.

James Horsfall


About Author

Sound designer and composer James Horsfall is currently completing his degree in Music at the Australian Institute of Music. Investigating acousmatic and electro-acoustic works.

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