The electronic soundscapes on Wild Life Documentaries resemble a psychedelic dream. The deep bass rumbles of dub drive an echo-laden pulse rich with cracks, ripples, and bleeps. It's a little eerie, frankly. If it weren't for the regular insertion of drums (and multifarious drum-like sounds), these pieces would serve just fine as fuel for intergalactic travel. But Deadbeat (aka Scott Monteith) brings everything back down to earth by layering just enough beats on top of the soup to give it overt spine and structure. It's an interesting combination. This kind of music is not new: Stefan Betke more or less introduced the world to the dub/glitch hybrid with his debut record as Pole in 1998. (And doubtless there were plenty of rumbles going on before Pole broke through to the ears of the world.)
Monteith got started as Deadbeat in 1998, releasing a handful of 12"s and compilation tracks along the way before his first full-length (appropriately entitled Primordia) a year ago on Mitchell Akiyama's Intr_version label, out of Montreal. Wild Life Documentaries, his second record, continues along the same lines. Rather than presenting an extended soundscape, Deadbeat breaks things up into relatively encapsulated chapters that reveal different angles of his vision. The deliciously understated "Cause for Hope" runs through drone and echo, waves breaking on the shore while a light beat starts and falters. It's a nice little haven of peace. "For Israel (Jaffa Revisited)" gradually works its way into a bouncing dub groove, reinforced by changes of key and a steady beat. (And don't worrythe Palestinians get their own dedication one track earlier.) "Organ in the Attic Sings the Blues" emerges from a snap crackle and click introduction into a loose, hypnotic flow.
Listeners familiar with this hybrid style of electronica will find Wild Life Documentaries a fresh, invigorating outlookand for those new to the sound, this record makes a fine introduction. While heavily reliant on reverberant sounds and ever-pulsating bass, this music is anything but plodding or dull. Deadbeat has clearly realized that intelligence and hypnosis make for an involving combination.
Track Listing: Open My Eyes That I May See; Organ in the Attic Sings the Blues; For
Palestine; For Israel (Jaffa Revisited); Let It Rain; Cause for Hope; To
Berlin With Love; A Dub For Akufen; When First You Gave Me Shivers...;
Personnel: Written and produced by Scott Monteith.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.