Somnambule - Writing About Music

Deadbeat ~ Something Borrowed, Something Blue

The press release relates that Something Borrowed, Something Blue is “... a chronicle of the nine months leading up to [Deadbeat’s] marriage in June 2003...” A voice observes on the first brief track: “When I was young I used to love the sound of crickets...”

Instead of crickets the sound appears to much closer to that of razor shells being rubbed together. This sonic association accordingly initiates a maritime rather than an amorous voyage. Music – particularly instrumental music - is after all an open book: we may be guided by it’s titles and graphics, but ultimately we’re blessed with the freedom to negotiate our own relationship to it...

Head Over Heels is all dubby spaciousness, percussive cascades sprinkled with delicate piano notes played as if treading daintily upon sharp rocks. As the track progresses there’s a sense of being spun round deliciously in slow motion. White Out‘s faster-paced percussion remodels the sound of footfalls skittering down a pebble shore to the sea’s edge into an attractive uptempo house rhythm. An additional rhythmic clocking sound cannot be anything but the sound of rocks being knocked together in a seaside cave. This is dub as immersive experience: we’re moving through deep, dark seas - encountering silver shoals of sound floating out of the darkness, other glints of light visible from above originate from where the tides wash against shores now left far behind. The oceanic experience of this music is further underlined by the length of tracks which are mostly between seven and almost ten minutes in length.

Requiem swims deeper and after a few minutes offers up firm bass figures around which Deadbeat’s beats and minimal melodies ebb and swell. Steady As A Rock puts the rich, full and heavy bass higher still in the mix, where it sits just as the title indicates. It’s used sparingly, appearing and disappearing so that its presence can really be appreciated. Just as the precise edge between oceans, say, Oceana and the Indian Ocean is invisible to the eye so Deadbeat’s tracks merge without pause. A Joyful Noise brings back a beach worth’s of seashells tumbling in varieties of white noise.

Where Pole’s 1-3 integrated dub with glitch, Deadbeat integrates techno with dub, often producing driving rhythms. The music is accordingly less pockmarked by glitches and given more space to stretch out. At times it approaches ambient and recalls Porter Ricks’s BioKinetics, though with a more varied rhythmic chassis (Biokinetics’s oceanic references were made clear in track titles such as Port Gentil, Nautical Dub, etc.) Dive deep down into Deadbeat’s rich and tactile, organic and fluid music. You’ll soon grow gills.
Colin Buttimer
March 2004
Published by Milkfactory