I know I'm in the minority here, but Art Department has never really clicked with me; the programming feels undercooked, the vocals overwrought. I stand by that assessment on "We Call Love": the dusky analog synthesizers are fine, and the warbly LFOs add a muted sparkle. (The Rhodes-led bridge, two-thirds of the way through, is the track's highlight, to my ears.) Surely there are those for whom the vocals will seem guileless and immediate; to me, they're off-key, particularly in the impromptu fills, and the ascending/descending minor-key chord progression doesn't offer much in the way of melodic interest.
For those looking for a little more sizzle, though, good things come from Caribou in his Daphni guise. Caribou is among the last people I would expect to see turn up on their roster—kudos to Damian Lazarus for the inspired bit of A&R—and what he delivers is equally unpredictable. The mix kicks off with a choppy, syncopated snare rhythm and a bassline that sounds like vintage New Order getting slammed in a screen door. A new vocal loop, which sounds like a woman singing "I wanna," adds tension; incidental saxophone squawks nudge the track off of its harmonic axis as the hi-hat/snare pattern digs into a shuddering groove. There's an obvious '80s/'90s influence, which feels true to Art Department's own classicist bent, but it's been subtly turned on its ear; stock tropes (a muttered "Take my hand," breathy oohing and aahing) slip down an atonal rabbit hole where anything might happen.
DJ Harvey sticks closer to Art Department's template, but despite the minimal interventions, his mix—almost a dub—still has that certain something I don't hear in the original. Dubbed-out 808 shots gesture outwards, towards paths not taken, and he leans hard into the Rhodes chords that go almost unnoticed in Art Department's version, adding volume and distortion to really make them shine. Topping it off are fresh synth chords and arpeggios, bright and bristly, that throw all the elements into stark relief. With a modicum of attention to dynamics, he illuminates a whole new dimension lurking inside.
Buy Art Department feat. Soul Clap & Osunlade - We Call Love at
Tracklist: Art Department feat. Soul Clap & Osunlade - We Call Love 01. We Call Love
02. We Call Love (Daphni Mix)
03. We Call Love (DJ Harvey Remix)
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