Deadbeat – Walls and Dimensions

Deadbeat - Walls and Dimensions

Deadbeat, aka Scott Monteith, is a dub techno artist from Montreal, perpetually approaching the genre with an outsider ear. Although he currently resides in frosty genre mecca Berlin, his music is still refreshingly focused, strange, warped fingerprints everywhere.

I wrote about his 2008 album Roots and Wire in the first year of this blog, but somehow managed to nearly forget Deadbeat existed. With the exception of 2010 mixtape Radio Rothko (itself a magnificent slice of expertly selected out-there sounds), I hadn’t heard a peep in more than half a decade. In the meantime, my tastes slowly shifted toward the deeper end of techno and its attendant constellation of related genres. My running all-time favorite album list adapted with the change, filling up with the likes of Basic Channel, Detroit Escalator Co, Carl Craig, and DJ Sprinkles. Still, Deadbeat remained inexplicably off my radar. So when this album suggestion popped up on Spotify, I clicked play with no urgency or excitement.

Since I’m writing about it, you already know that Walls and Dimensions is something truly special. Across an hour running time, the album luxuriates in deep dub minimalism, gets high on guest vocals from Fink, Dehlia De France, and Elif Biçer, and drifts so hard, it skids off the edge of the planet. I’ve listened a half dozen times today, and by the end of each journey, I’m caught gasping at the realization that I’ve been rocketed into those droning, radio telescope edges of the galaxy. Serious Carl Sagan territory, here, ringing out an extended quarter-hour coda of relaxed ambience.

Before it reaches that starbound climax, however, the album crashes through some of the most emotive, life affirming techno I’ve ever heard. The rousing Dylan Thomas poem, “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,” even makes a lyrical cameo. Incredibly, Deadbeat manages to fold in its anthemic power without losing an ounce of his steady cool. This is techno with a deep funky soul, riding some of the same wavelengths that blow artists like Dam-Funk and Theo Parrish right into my heart.

Because the album arcs between deep dub and propulsive house and techno, passing through multiple planes of existence between, I wanted to share a taste of the cohesive variety on display. The below trio of songs represents the extreme ends, but there’s an entire lush universe between that begs to be spun on repeat.

Here’s the opening track, Ain’t No More Flowers:

Here’s album midpoint Stekker Forever:

Finally, here’s the triumphant penultimate track, with soaring vocals courtesy Elif Biçer, Got To Carry On:

Walls and Dimensions can be streamed in full and purchased on this Bandcamp page.

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