Deadbeat & Danuel Tate - Lazy Jane (BLKRTZ, 30 April)
Following his 12" for Exone that we were rather into, Deadbeat fires out another intriguing cut, a collaboration with Cobblestone Jazz's Danuel Tate that's reminiscent of the Main Street releases, with a deep dub and a jacking house rework of the same material. Danuel Tate's vocals are a strange beast; tremulous wails heavily distorted by a vocoder, and whilst I usually dislike (Read: utterly despise) vocoder work, Tate creates an intriguing tension between organic, soulful and harshly mechanistic sounds that feels fresh. The A-side plays very much in the Tikiman/ Burial mix style; a loping dub composed of little more than a kick, a woodblock hit and two-note bass riffs, before introducing Tate's vocals and warpy valve organ flourishes. It's a typically warm Deadbeat production that's very much made for the smoking, and a solid addition to any record box. On the flipside, Lazy Jane 909 Dub is exactly as it sounds; a classic house-driven dub workout of kicks and claps, stripping away the vocals and throwing all the synths into the echo chamber to bounce around. It's probably the most beguilingly straightforward cut from BLKRTZ so far, and has more in common with the retro-analogue style of Horizontal Ground or Jonas Kopp than the experimentalism of ~scape Monteith cited as his inspiration, but it's a quality counterpoint to the A-side's somnambulic half-time shuffle.
Deadbeat's greatest strength is his ability to combine an encyclopedic knowledge of dub with a his own unique approach to sound - Radio Rothko and Drawn & Quartered are great examples of combining intelligence and passion to create great music. Despite the high calibre of both tracks, Lazy Jane does err a little too heavily on the fanboyisms, skirting dangerously on the edge of pastiche and wearing its influences proudly on the sleeve; it's hard to shake off the feeling of listening to an unreleased Main Street record. However, only the most aggressively cynical hipster could moan "heard it all before" at what is, in truth, a well-rounded, well-produced EP that fits nicely into Monteith's catalogue of releases, and deserves praise for its strengths.