With 2011's Drawn and Quartered, Berlin-by-way-of-Montreal techno producer Scott Montieth aka Deadbeat dove into a dense, almost impenetrably thick world of minimal dub ambience, with an hour of foggy sounds sifted out over the course of just five epic tracks. The mood was heavy and plodding, almost suffocating in its woolly layers. With Eight, Deadbeat thins out the mood somewhat, but the darkness and minimal approach are refined and stretched out over a variety of different styles. The album opens strong with the immaculate and straightforward dubstep-informed clatter of "The Elephant in the Pool," moving into the equally strong subdued vocoder pop of "Lazy Jane [Steppers Dub]." These songs are album highlights and set the scene for what could be another dazzling if monolithic Deadbeat offering, but left turns soon derail any singular vision for the record. The hypnotic pulse of "Wolves and Angels" relies on sequenced analog synths and slowly rolling stereo-panned percussion. "My Rotten Roots" draws closer to deep house with scattered vocal samples and scratchy, understated organ hits. It fits in the bleak landscape of the rest of Eight but just barely, moving a little too far into a feel-good party zone to make complete sense in the larger picture. Likewise the dubstep rushes of the uptempo "Yard" feel a little unnatural in the context of the rest of the record. Deadbeat switches styles almost wantonly, growing and building as the album's eight tracks move on. By the slightly Latin-tinged album closer, "Horns of Jericho," Eight lands in a completely different place than it began, and feels almost like the work of a different artist. For all the innovation and branching out, the album lacks the focus and cohesion of previous work and suffers somewhat for it. Eight's strongest moments meld the heavy dub underpinnings of his 2008 masterwork Roots and Wire with the more menacing meditation of Drawn and Quartered. The more adventurous shifts in style aren't without merit, but feel more curious than exciting.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas