Dub techno. It’s one thing to be misconstrued as the sedative, head-f**k 4/4 that crept to prominence via mnml ssgs some years ago. Then there’s the small matter of the ‘dub’ prefix; inescapably evoking the current genre of rage along with the unending quibble over its ‘true’, ‘proper’ nature. Perplexing stuff, which we’ll gladly leave to the keyboard warriors, but to get to the roots of Deadbeat’s music, all you need to google is ‘Basic Channel’.
Working with the strict analogue of the techno legends as his foundation, Deadbeat carved a name for himself by traversing the ‘other’ side - the realm of the digital - and deftly melding the two worlds together. To date, all eight albums of his propulsive, thickset techno can lay claim to sounding like no one else’s but his.
Deadbeat’s latest is also quite possibly his greatest. The producer is positively on point with the imaginatively titled (and artworked) Eight, juggling multiple dub mutations that show off an acute awareness of today’s electronic music landscape. Transmitting British low-end aggression from the get-go, ‘The Elephant in the Pool’ might just leave you mouthing the D-word in surprise while the bassline drubs your insides.
Deadbeat then draws on the German fortitude of his direct surroundings, with Pole anointed mastering duties and the one and only Monolake dabbling in ‘room design’. Naturally, they’ve achieved a level of immense detail to plumb the submarine depths of the producer’s sound signature. Throughout the record, unexpected patterns surface at every corner: do a double take with the invigorating dancehall stagger of ‘Yard’, then check your iTunes to see if Shuffle was turned on.
You’re still playing Deadbeat, though - it’s just that the man’s gone on a more potent and precipitate tip than ever before. The result is some of Deadbeat’s heftiest dancefloor matter - genre debate be damned, Eight is a truly brilliant listening experience.
And for those uncomfortable with him having some fun, look to the collaborations on offer for a reminder of the Deadbeat of old. He consorts with fellow Canadians Danuel Tate (of Cobblestone Jazz) and Mathew Jonson, serving up a, um, stepping rework of ‘Lazy Jane’ and the breezily optimistic ‘Wolves and Angels’ respectively.