Given the obvious similarities, it’s tempting to draw parallels between Deadbeat (Scott Monteith) and Mike Shannon (founder of minimal techno labels Cynosure and Revolver): both are originally from Ontario, Canada, both deeply embrace electronic styles on their ~scape discs, and the vocal songs on their respective releases New World Observer and Possible Conclusions To Stories That Never End spotlight female singers (AthÃ©sia on Deadbeat’, AnaÃ¯s on Shannon’) to reasonably satisfying effect. (The title alludes to the project’s philosophical underpinningâ€”the idea that each life’ unique narrative trajectory defies resolution and therefore accommodates contingent and merely tentative conclusionsâ€”but, don’ worry, enjoyment of the album is hardly dependent on familiarity with its theme.) The key difference is one of stylistic conception: Monteith’ panoramic digi-dub inhabits an entirely distinct universe from Shannon’ sophisticated “electronic-lounge’ style. Though he includes an occasional field interlude (the album begins with the sound of a typhoon hitting Tokyo streets), the album largely hews to that style, with guests adding welcome variety to Shannon’ material throughout.
The vocal tracks make the strongest impression. AnaÃ¯s’ breathy supplications deepen the seductive atmosphere of the languid tech-house opener â€œCome To Youâ€ while her silken tones deepen the dreamy ambiance of â€œRemembrance,â€ the natural quality of her voice nicely offsetting steely machine noises rumbling in the background; elsewhere, her sultry voice complements the jazzy trip-hop of â€œSweet Liesâ€ and â€œTaken Only Road.â€ Stoked by the loosely funky drumming of Tim Stokes-Rees, the album’ electronic jazz vibe moves to the forefront on â€œI’ll Pay My Rent On the Daytime Nocturnalâ€ while Patrick Watson’ piano sprinkles and Stokes-Rees’ brushes turn â€œFallen Tears Among Spirit Treesâ€ into the album’ most overt lounge cut. With the Detroit-laced strutter â€œSudden Movesâ€ and â€œThe Last One Terrified,â€ a buoyant hip-hop interlude boosted by Moral Undulation’ gravelly spoken word turn, Shannon pushes the album into other directions too. A shame to report, then, that some solidly executed but less eventful tracks (â€œMiyako Train,â€ â€œBathing In Microwavesâ€) come across a bit too much like background music, ultimately leading one to regard Possible Conclusions To Stories That Never End as a good but far from spectacular addition to the ~scape catalogue.