- In the years surrounding 2011, tech house focussed on sludgy melodies, chunky basslines and crooning vocals. Along with acts like Wolf + Lamb and Jamie Jones, Art Department helped shape this sound, providing the scene with its biggest hit, "Without You," a restrained but powerful blend of melody and ghostly lyrics. But it seems that when Kenny Glasgow departed the project in 2015, leaving Jonny White to continue it solo, Art Department lost its charm. Sour Jazz, the first EP since the split, lacks Art Department's usual flair. It turns the focus to rhythm, a move that results in the least distinctive tunes in the project's discography
The title track is the EP's best moment. A rattling house groove with frantic percussion, it's dreamy and inoffensive, with random splurts of synth and chord. "721 (Queen Street)" increases the energy with a fat Shed-style kick drum and sampled vocal snippets buried at the back of the mix. White calls up Todd Terry and Roland Clark to contribute to "Roots Deep." It's the record's most musical selection but also its weakest, an overcooked barrage of bass synth, chords and vocals. Sour Jazz suggests that Jonny White may need to work to find his own voice.
A1 Sour Jazz
A2 721 (Queen Street)
B1 Roots Deep feat. Todd Terry and Roland Clark