Deadbeat

Wild Life Documentaries

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While it may seem curious for Montreal-based Deadbeat producer Scott Monteith to record an album for a small, privately operated label halfway around the world in Berlin, the pairing is ultimately fitting. The label responsible for releasing Wild Life Documentaries, Scape, specializes in ambient dub, and Monteith certainly produces that. His Deadbeat productions are akin to Scape owner Stefan Betke's as Pole and seem at home on this acclaimed boutique label. Like Betke, Monteith produces hazy ambient dub soundscapes that lumber along at a leisurely tempo, enthralling you with intricate texturing and subtle variations from track to track. And also like Betke, Monteith knows how to properly piece together a sutured album that drifts along, transitioning ever so smoothly without disrupting the prevailing mood of tranquil bliss. These similarities aside, Monteith instills just enough uniqueness throughout Wild Life Documentaries to set him apart from his peers. The album begins like most ambient dub albums tend to: "Open My Eyes That I May See" eases you into the album's opiate mood and "Organ in the Attic Sings the Blues" takes things from there, unveiling an assortment of shimmering aural textures that absolutely glisten while the basslines rumble down your spine gently. Next comes the pairing of "For Palestine" and "For Israel (Jaffa Revisited)," two similar-sounding tracks that embody everything wonderful about ambient dub with the mastery of a veteran producer. From here, the album explores different styles: among the highlights, "Cause for Hope" showcases Monteith's ability to manipulate melodies to great effect; "To Berlin With Love" stands out with its constant crackling, whispering voice and out-of-nowhere mid-track transition; "A Dub for Akufen" sounds precisely like that -- Akufen given the Deadbeat dub treatment; and, finally, "Kezia" closes the album with a suiting sense of serenity. It's really difficult to imagine a better-assembled ambient dub album than this. Monteith has produced an album that is typical of the style yet divergent toward the latter half as well, and he's also produced an album that is suturing yet continually curious. As such, Wild Life Documentaries engages you from beginning to end, while so many other ambient dub albums grow dull by the halfway point.

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