Deadbeat Wild Life Documentaries Review

Released 2002.  

BBC Review

First release on German imprint ~scape from Montreal dub freak Deadbeat.

Olli Siebelt 2003

It's hard to believe that it's been ten years since Germany's Basic Channel label crossed the threshold between deep techno and dirty dub. Since then, the techno community has come a long way and regularly enjoys bathing in scratchy rhythm beds and deep minimal basslines brought to us from the back streets of Berlin.

From New York to Tokyo to Auckland, there have been many who have embraced this sound, with notable success. More recently however, the Canadians have gotten in on the act - First with Toronto's Audi Sensa imprint, and now Montreal's own Deadbeat is leading the charge.

Deadbeat is one Scott Montheit, a key player in Montreal's new music scene for almost a decade now. Getting his start with labels like Revolver and Hautec, he recently signed up to the excellent ~scape label for this debut full length. The fact that a German label has released a record like this is no mistake.

Bringing the patented King Tubby/Lee Perry sound ten steps further down the road, Wild Life Documentaries sees Montheit layering ambient beds of granular noise over skanking beats, offering the best bang for the buck the further the tracks progress.

But rather than simply dive into the effects processors like the Basic Channel crew, Montheit keeps his style firmly grounded in the old school of dub. Its a sound half rooted in the analogue low end of yesterday and the razor sharp digital dynamics of today.

Although it's a linear listen, there are a few twists and turns along the way. "A Dub For Akufen", (a track meant originally as a collaboration between the two artists) bounces and along like a dub filled dustball, gathering speed and size as it rolls down a steep hill.

"Organ In The Attic" takes an old Hammond B3 and throws it straight into the dub blender at half speed creating a wonderfully thick and chunky sound, as does the aptly titled "To Berlin With Love", where we see Deadbeat crank out a heavy almost four-to-the-floor beat with some fantastic rhythm samples thrown in.

Germany, or at least certain factions within Berlin's techno scene, would indeed be proud. While perhaps not as groundbreaking as some of the other music coming out of Montreal these days, Deadbeat is nevertheless an excellent exercise in dubbed out techno that fans of the style should consider an essential purchase. A very cool release for you crazy dubheads out there.

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