Kenny Glasgow: Taste For The Low Life
No.19 Music

Though Kenny Glasgow's got some twenty years of experience behind him, Taste for The Low Life is, surprisingly, his first artist album. He started out in Toronto as a promoter, DJ (at the city's first-ever after-hours venue, The Buzz, and later the Industry Nightclub), producer (for Jinx Records and Roger Sanchez's Narcotic), and then recording artist (DJ mix albums such as the Toronto Mix Session for Tiga's Turbo Recordings). References to dance music's history—Chicago house, Detroit techno, minimal, funk, disco, soul—resonate throughout his seventy-minute album's eight tracks.

Certainly “System Overload” gets the set moving on the good foot. During the eleven-minute ride, an anchoring theme snakes through the bottom while alternately double-time and disco hi-hats, vocal shout-outs (“Didn't I show you life?”), and creamy synths meld into a sleek dynamo that suggests well-lubricated Detroit machinery operating at peak levels. The track's mystery-laden vibe and changing shape holds one's interest for the duration, as does “The Keeper” despite being even longer and less developmental. Patiently stoking a midtempo pulse into a slow-burning stomp, the cut is simultaneously sleek and lush in a way that suggests affinities with Derrick May and Carl Craig. “Dance 2 Da House” is even better, a stripped-down tech-house bouncer given heft via a thick bass pulse, spacey synth chords, and laconic title voiceover, while “T.W.A.M. 2009 (The War Against Machines)” serves up a solid slice of classic “dystopic techno” where ominous synth melodies coil and flare amidst stark beat patterning. Glasgow rolls out a delectably funky electro vibe in “Sayin' in Berlin” that's hard to resist when the track's sci-fi synth melodies cruise so gracefully through a galaxy of bubbly keys and funky house rhythms (the breakdown's particularly sweet).

Unfortunately, while it begins promisingly with a funky mix of keyboard riffing and swishing hi-hats, the skeletal “Logan's Run” is too static to sustain interest for ten minutes and would have been better fashioned as a two-minute interlude. That it falls in the middle of the disc is doubly unfortunate as it grounds momentum to a halt when it's needed most. Like “Logan's Run,” the burbling keyboard-and-percussion workout “The Sandman” spins its wheels for an overlong seven minutes. Though Taste for The Low Life is weakened by their presence, it's still got fifty solid minutes of sultry house music to argue strongly on its behalf.

May 2009