Kübler-Ross Soliloquies by Deadbeat

The Kübler-Ross Soliloquies by Deadbeat is a thought-provoking album that deals with the eight stages of grief according to the Kübler-Ross model.

Kübler-Ross Soliloquies by Deadbeat Art by BLKRTZ

In the last 24 years, Scott Monteith's Deadbeat project has covered a dizzying array of musical references and genres, exploring everything from left-field reggae and downbeat experiments, purifying drone and ambient noise excursions, outer-national percussion workouts, and hypnotic techno and house. On his first solo album in 5 years, Monteith offers up what is perhaps the most powerful, tightly dance floor-focused album of his storied career and a soul-cleansing, poignant soundtrack to the fears and hardships of a world gone mad, entitled Kübler-Ross Soliloquies.

The Kübler-Ross model describes the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. A soliloquy is defined as an act of speaking one's thoughts aloud alone by oneself or regardless of any hearers. Over the album's eight tracks, Monteith explores each stage with a clear-eyed focus and confidence that is a testament to his dual role as a kind, smiling musical selector and monkish technological nerd ball of the highest order.

The album begins with The Double Bong Cloud (Denial I), a dual reference to the escapism of ganja smoke and a famous chess opening between grandmasters Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura. Juxtaposing processed Nyabinghi drums and harsh analog percussion against a walking bass line and earworm whistle solo, the track dives straight down the rabbit hole and sets the stage for future things.

Straight No Chaser (Denial II) follows things up with a classic Deadbeat rhythm, existing somewhere on the margins of house and dance hall, with the peripheries populated by a thick gauze of noise, unintelligible vocal samples, and additional hand percussion from Oscar Bernal.

Track 3, Tough Love (Anger I), positions itself clearly in the realm of night-changing mid-western American dance floor bombs, which were influential during Scott Monteith's earliest raving experiences growing up in southern Ontario and many trips to neighboring Detroit and Chicago. Rollicking percussion, liquid synth lines, and classic organ stabs elbow for space over the top of the most lethal, heavy-kick drum and bass combo you're likely to hear this year.

Having first collaborated way back in 2007 on his Journeyman's Annual album, Brick Stick Blick Blade (Anger II) features the booming baritone and razor-sharp poetics of Black Noble Oluokun (formerly known as Lord Tunji) and a mystical far east bass line provided by French/Italian musical polymath Romain Azzaro. Riding on top of a slow-motion dance hall rhythm and bass line that will give even the most capable sound systems a run for their money, the tune will be a staple in the bags of bass music DJs for years to come.

In the most topical, direct statement of the album and maybe his entire catalog, Huey Lewis Voters Dub (Negotiation) features the words of the sadly deceased former Senator John Lewis set to an incessant dub techno backdrop, and in place of hi-hats utilizes a tempo-synced sample of the take-off and landing of a Huey helicopter which featured so heavily as a machine of death from above during the Vietnam war.

The aptly titled Things Fall Apart (Depression) provides a brief moment of rhythmic respite in the proceedings, with off-the-grid percussion and bass floating in a sea of mournful synth experimentation and field recordings, creating a free jazz-like musical wormhole of dark ruminations and creeping dread.

A light at the end of the musical tunnel appears on With Grand Trepidation (Acceptance I), combining a phased-out chord line reminiscent of Massive Attack's classic Protection, darbuka and classic dub drums, acid bass line, and "not a care in the world" whistle lead line with fierce analog percussion.

The proceedings close with Mountains from Mole Hills (Acceptance II), which may rightly be the most cinematic and epic entry in Scott Monteith's entire catalog. Cascading waterfalls of ever-shifting percussion are set to an Aphex Twin-like string arrangement passionate enough to make even the most stone-hearted listener weep tears of joy.

Deadbeat - Kübler-Ross Soliloquies
Release Date October 2023

01. The Double Bong Cloud (Denial I)
02. Straight No Chaser (Denial II)
03. Tough Love (Anger I)
04. Brick Stick Blick Blade (Anger II)
05. Huey Lewis Voters Dub (Negotiation)
06. Things Fall Apart (Depression)
07. With Grand Trepidation (Acceptance I)
08. Mountains from Mole Hills (Acceptance II)

Mathias Haegglund Code Collector, Globetrotter, and Occasional Gamer.