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Deadbeat - Roots & Wire


One of the central characters in the Canadian renaissance of sleek dance music, Scott Monteith’s dub-centred Deadbeat is now 6 albums old, having crept along almost unnoticed since his initial releases on Scape and Revolver.  From being a Canadian based producer releasing on a Berlin label, he is now a Berlin resident on a Canadian imprint.

“Roots and Wire” harks at something more primal and perhaps even traditional, a heady mix of the analogue of dub against the stark digital crispness of techno. It’s certainly one of his more uptempo offerings, the dancehall ethos that he made his name with being restricted to the start and end of the album, the hardy perennial Paul St Hilaire lending his unique vocals to proceedings, as the rest of the tracks are devoted to strong, propulsive dub-tinged dancefloor tech-house that manages to keep the right side of tasteful throughout.

Monteith’s strength is to keep the balance of dub and electronics just about right, as far too many producers in this field merely add copious reverb and echo, dulling already dull ideas further. The album’s central piece is “Deep Structure”, an 8 minute hypnotic workout that builds to a satisfying climax, that alongside the 5am feel of “Sun People” is the highlight of a work that doesn’t have any glaring holes, but at the same time fails to provide any truly great highs. “Grounation (Berghain Drum Jack)” is a thundering rhythmic work out that would feel more at home on a Primate release, but it does change halfway through, providing a blessed relief. The melodica on the closing “Babylon Correction” slows the tempo down to a chilled close, but its cheeky melodic tones are rare on an album that focuses on mostly rhythmic structures.

As mentioned before, it’s hard to fault “Roots and Wire” as Monteith has produced a great sounding record full of dancefloor nous and strength, but somewhere along the line despite the vocal attention of St Hilaire, it lacks a human presence to take it onto a more emotional and ultimately involving level.

Toby Frith

Deadbeat site

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