Deadbeat New World Observer

Many electronic artists in Montreal have been influenced by Pole’s pre-2000 sounds, so it’s fitting that Scott Monteith should release music on Pole’s Scape label. On New World Observer, his blend of dub and modern hip-hop production styles hits hard, harder than Pole has ever been able to achieve since toning down the glitch factor in his own work. Yes, there are clicks and cuts, but this disc is about beats. The dissections provide both riveting atmosphere and added rhythmic heft by mixing microsampling techniques with King Tubby’s echo-as-lead voice sensibility. Everything works well on this disc, especially the vocals, which range from the delicate performance on "Port Au Prince” to the poignant samples, such as that which describes the destruction of green space by a settlement in "Little Town of Bethlehem.” The grooves don’t all follow the typical pattern of starting slow and building to a thudding midsection before petering out again; Monteith knows how to hit the ground running. And it’s not just about head nodding either; you’ll actually rise from your chair to properly enjoy this music. The title sums up the ethos: it’s an observation and comment on the state of the world being both coolly distant and passionately engaged at the same time. A vital record and perhaps a milestone in digidub. (Scape)