Deadbeat: Roots and Wire

Wagon Repair, 2008

Roots and Wire cover

Deadbeat does a wonderful job unifying dubstep, dub techno, and dub reggae on his latest album. The high points are definitely the opening and closing tracks featuring Paul St. Hilaire. While massive digital bass ambles, St. Hilaire sings smokily, “The children rise again, Jah Jah children rise.”

The middle of the album blends instrumental genres. The title track is abstract dubstep, with cascading reverb and big bass drops. It breaks down before building back up into an over-the-top anthem. “Grounation (Berghain Drum Jack)” is an extended exploration of dense, hypnotic percussion. “Xberg Ghosts” is a strange combination of chords and glitch over a driving beat. “Deep Structure” has a distinctly house feel, with a vocal sample amidst panning synth wobbles, while “Night Stepping” is very digital-sounding dub techno.

I really love the ideas presented here, but these tracks have that dry, overly-digital feel which defines dubstep. This is my favorite Deadbeat album to date. It’s just better-suited to a party or club than to lounging, since at times it can seem harsh and cold.

4/5 stars

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