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Art Department & Seth Troxler's 'Cruel Intentions': Sex, fear, techno

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Art Department
Matt Barnes

Detroit may be techno’s birthplace, but nearly from the start it’s also had a sphere of direct influence that extends far enough to encompass places like Toronto and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Those are the hometowns, respectively, of the group Art Department (comprised of producers Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White) and Seth Troxler, techno scene stalwarts who balance a deep respect for the genre’s conventions with a sonic daringness that keeps their work from falling into the trap of rote reproduction.

Recently all three teamed up for a track called “Cruel Intentions” that coats techno’s relentless minimalist thump in a thick layer of organic grime that evokes greasy, beat-up machinery and tops it with an intriguingly enervated-sounding vocal part that sounds like it could have been recorded from a death bed. The video (produced with a grant from the Canadian talent-promotion foundation MuchFACT) adds in a bit of creepy surveillance-state paranoia and abstract sexiness to the cocktail of intriguingly weird vibes.

“Cruel Intentions” will appear on Art Department’s upcoming album Natural Selection, out Nov. 18 on White’s label No. 19 Music.

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