- A Canadian classic 20 years in the making?
- Back in the early '00s, Scott Monteith and Colin de la Plante were part of a new crop of Canadian producers (including Akufen, Mike Shannon and Mathew Johnson) pushing a wonky, colourful style of house and techno. For a refresher, 2002's Montreal Smoked Meat compilation captures this moment perfectly: clipped rhythms, synth bleeps and AM radio dispatches abound, along with a real sense of funk. This style, quickly folded in with the larger microhouse scene, also found an international home at places like Bar25 and the then-fledgling Club der Visionaere—venues where the open-ended parties required music that was a bit gentler and more suited for the daylight hours.
I start with this history because Deadbeat Meets The Mole feels like it was two decades in the making. Both Monteith (Deadbeat) and de la Plante (The Mole) have toured together extensively, but this is their first dedicated studio excursion together. Over the decades, both producers have both expanded and refined their signature sounds: Monteith dug deeper into dub and other sounds, even spiritual music, while de la Plante kept finding ways to make loopy house sound even more mischievous and fun.
"Fun" is the operative word on Deadbeat Meets The Mole. From the opening radio crackle and dueling organs of "Bodner Vs The Cardboard Box"—a track I'm tempted to call "Klezmer Ambient"—it's an album that doesn't take itself too seriously. That's not to say it isn't impressive. Both producers push each other to wring out new ideas from their well-worn sounds. Take "Keep On Going On," which starts beautifully. It's a slow wash of dub chords and tape hiss gurgle that give it the signature of a Deadbeat classic, until a brash vocal line comes in and we're back in the topsy-turvy world of The Mole. The reverse happens on "I'd Rather Be Lonely," where de la Plante's shapeshifting funk is dubbed and filtered until it sounds like it's submerged underwater.
There's a jam session feel to the LP, and even the tracks that feel tossed-off have plenty to love, like the vibrato organ and hand drums on "Farfisa Hoser Hymnal," or the piano on the "Ciao Uncle Gio." Deadbeat Meets The Mole has the air of two friends just enjoying each other's company. In the liner notes, Monteith writes, "I guess Capital H Hosers is a badge we could both wear pretty honestly. Perpetual tweakers of knobs and pushers of buttons both literal and personal might be another. Stay-at-home dads. Tellers of untold incredibly bad jokes. Yet miraculously, some 20 years on, still somehow on the same weird page." Still being on the same "weird page" makes the album a sort of homecoming, an event worthy of a Heritage Minute to celebrate two heroes of Canadian house and techno.
01. Bodner Vs The Cardboard Box
02. I'd Rather Be Lonely
03. Keep On Going On
04. For All That Was Lost
05. Farfisa Hoser Hymnal
06. Rollin Heavy In The Spielplatz
07. Piano For Al And Bass From Uncle Scott
08. Return To The Towers
09. New Stone
10. Ciao Uncle G