In the last 24 years Scott Monteith’s Deadbeat project has covered a dizzying array of musical references and genres, exploring everything from from left field reggae and downbeat experiments, purifying drone and ambient noise excursions, outer-national percussion work outs, and hypnotic techno and house.
On his first solo album in 5 years, Monteith offers up what is perhaps the most powerful, tightly dance floor focused album of his storied carrier, and a soul cleansing, poignant sound track to the fears and hardships of a world gone mad, entitled Kübler-Ross Soliloquies.
The Kübler-Ross model describes the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. A soliloquy is defined as an act of speaking one's thoughts aloud alone by oneself or regardless of any hearers.
Over the album’s 8 tracks, Monteith explores each of these stages with a clear eyed focus and confidence that are a testament to his dual role as a kind, smiling musical selector and monkish technological nerd ball of the highest order.
The album begins with The Double Bong Cloud (Denial I), a dual reference to the escapism of ganja smoke and a famous chess opening between grand masters Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura. Juxtaposing processed Nyabinghi drums and tough analog percussion against a walking bass line and ear worm whistle solo, the track dives straight down the rabbit whole and sets the stage for things to come.
Straight No Chaser (Denial II) follow things up with a classic Deadbeat rhythm, existing somewhere on the margins of house and dance hall, with the peripheries populated by a thick gauze of noise, unintelligible vocal samples and additional hand percussion from Oscar Bernal.
Track 3, Tough Love (Anger I) positions itself clearly in the realm of night changing mid-western American dance floor bombs, which were so influential during Monteith’s earliest raving experiences growing up in southern Ontario and many trips to neighboring Detroit and Chicago. Rollicking percussion, liquid synth lines,
and classic organ stabs elbow for space over top of the most lethal, heavy kick drum and bass combo you’re likely to hear this year.
Having first collaborated way back in 2007 on his Journeyman’s Annual album, Brick Stick Blick Blade (Anger II) features the thunderous baritone and razor sharp poetics of Black Noble Oluokun (formerly known as LordTunji) and a mystical far east bass line provided by French/Italian musical polymath Romain Azzaro. Riding on top of a slow motion dance hall rhythm and bass line that will give even the most capable sound systems a run for their money, the tune is destined to be a staple in the bags of bass music DJs for years to come.
In the most topical, direct statement of the album and maybe his entire catalog, Huey Lewis Voters Dub (Negotiation) features the words of the sadly deceased former Senator John Lewis set to an incessant dub techno back drop, and in place of hi-hats utilizes a tempo synced sample of the take off and landing of a Huey helicopter which featured so heavily as a machine of death from above during the Vietnam war.
The aptly titled Things Fall Apart (Depression) provides a brief moment of rhythmic respite in the proceedings, with off the grid percussion and bass floating in a sea of mournful synth experimentation and field recordings, creating a free jazz like musical worm hole of dark ruminations and creeping dread.
A light at the end of the musical tunnel appears on With Grand Trepidation (Acceptance I), combining a phased out chord line reminiscent of Massive Attack’s classic Protection, darbuka and classic dub drums, acid bass line and “not a care in the world” whistle lead line with fierce analog percussion.
The proceedings close with Mountains from Mole Hills (Acceptance II), which may rightly go down as the most cinematic and epic entry in Monteith’s entire catalog. Cascading water falls of ever shifting percussion are set to an Aphex Twin like string arrangement emotive enough to make even the most stone hearted listener
weep tears of joy.