Deadbeat vs. Stephen Beaupré
It’s a Crackhaus Thing
cott Monteith (aka Deadbeat) raised his international profile considerably with 2002’s exceptional ~scape release Wild Life Documentaries, in spite of the fact that its atmospheric dub evidenced the pronounced influence of Stefan Betke’s Pole style. While Deadbeat fans anticipate his next ~scape release, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, scheduled for early 2004, they can tide themselves over with this superb collaborative effort with fellow Montréaler Stephen Beaupré. It’s a Crackhaus Thing has little in common with the dub-heavy feel of Monteith’s ~scape debut, but is, instead, definitive click-house that blends stylistic traces of Geeez’n’Gosh, Akufen, and Perlon micro-house into an incredible concoction.
Akufen casts a long shadow here as Crackhaus exhibits a similar predilection for micro-sampling, with Marc Leclair’s influence so pervasive on ‘Ample Slacks’ one might assume it to be a direct homage. But there are key differences between My Way and It’s a Crackhaus Thing. Leclair’s stunning debut dazzles as its miniscule fragments coalesce to form masterfully constructed house compositions, its array of musical (guitars, strings) and ‘nonmusical’ (voice snippets) samples—primarily from radio—stitched together ingeniously. Crackhaus’s range of sampling sources is more widespread than Leclair’s (the dingling sample on ‘Shine Your Light,’ for example, suggests clanging bottles or keys, and the gospel-soul ‘Shine Your Light’ vocal snippet recalls Uwe Schmidt’s Geeez’n’Gosh), and, while the group deploys similar techniques, the tracks never devolve into mere intellectual exercises. Rather, Crackhaus strikes a perfect balance between mind and body, as the tracks’ chopped and sliced funk-house beats and perpetually cycling bass lines keep them irresistibly rooted to the dance floor. Crackhaus typically overlays its skipping house beats with interweaving patterns of voice samples and sharp, swishing hi-hat accents that—on ‘Spinout’ especially—resemble the scissors-like sounds of unsheathed swords. Highlights? Of the innumerable number one could cite, how about ‘Little Cosmonaut’ whose slithering bass grounds its endlessly permutating percussive patterns until they abruptly drop out, leaving the delectable shuffle-funk beat alone before voice overlays and clattering patterns reappear. Perhaps the magnificent vocal cross-cutting and horn riffs on ‘Ample Slacks’ or the masterful funk patterns of ‘Who Says’ are peaks worth noting. In general, what impresses most of all is the poise and restraint Monteith and Beaupré demonstrate in measuredly pacing each track’s development throughout its numerous episodes. All told, the level of invention and imagination sustained throughout It’s a Crackhaus Thing makes for a remarkable listening experience.
Reviewed by: Ron Schepper
Reviewed on: 2003-12-09