Release Date: Aug 14, 2012
Record label: 50 Weapons
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
For an artist with so many aliases, it's striking how instantly recognizable Shed's music can be. Whether he's doing straight-up techno, dubstep or the abstract vignettes of his last album The Traveller, the stony-faced stare of Rene Pawlowitz is never too hidden. But with two albums under the Shed moniker so markedly different from each other, and a growing universe of pseudonyms, there was a big question mark looming over The Killer, the third Shed album and first on 50 Weapons.
In 2008’s ‘Shedding The Past’, Rene ‘Shed’ Pawlowitz produced the essential document of Berghain-era dub-techno. Since then, he has increasingly woven elements of the hardcore continuum (rave cadences, breakbeats, dubstep, swung drums) into his raw, visceral work. This album is the bonanza pay-out on that process. Historically, hard Berlin techno was the sound of a scarred city, a music both haunted by and seeking to escape turbulent history, but, here, Shed makes a definitive break with the past.
ShedThe Killer[50 Weapons; 2012]By Will Ryan; August 28, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGFor all of the lip service dance music pays to Rene Pawlowitz and the material released under his Shed moniker, you'd think The Killer would be the German producer's fifth or sixth album. It's his third. It arrives two years after The Traveller, which felt like a minor stop-off after Pawlowitz's debut, Shedding The Past, helped steer the last few years of 2000s Berghain minimal tech.
Regularly hailed as a hero in the story of the return of "proper" techno this past half decade, German producer René Pawlowitz-- best known for his work as Shed-- bears the consequential burden of being both over- and underrated, his tunes elevated to the impossible status of religious icons, or damned for falling short of that fictitious status. Up to now, Shed albums have mostly managed to stay on the right side of the perceived divide, with 2008's Shedding the Past yielding up delectable, exquisitely produced deep tech-house, and 2010's follow-up The Traveller drawing a more challenging set of rhythmically adventurous avant-techno sketches. But The Killer, Pawlowitz's least praiseworthy but most fun album to date, might end the golden run.
Review Summary: The killer he may be, but by no means the killer eliteThroughout his many identities and alter-egos, his numerous releases for various labels and affiliations, the chief constant for Rene Pawlowitz has always been his communication with that now infamous cross-country conduit: the much-heralded and discussed-at length axis of London at one end with Berlin at the other. A dialect perhaps best exemplified by Scuba, it's perhaps a perfect example of the cross-pollination that exists in dance music today; or, to be more specific, the European dance music scene. And while Pawlowitz has always been a major link in the chain, his approach has always been a touch more cunning, a thief in the dead of night so to speak.
The press release for The Killer, the third album from Shed, declares it "first and foremost a true techno love story." Berliner Rene Pawlowitz's romance with techno is in full bloom, melodic, rhythmic and textural, constantly brimming, and booming, with articulate, low-end frequency responses. The shadowy dirge techno of "I Come By Night" menaces, but finds balance in fluidic arpeggios that slide and fall around the listener. "Ride On" succeeds using Chicago house flair and textural nuances to boot.
Captivating twists on the techno template pepper this Berlin producer’s third LP. Matthew Bennett 2012 Wander the misty graveyard of musical genres and you’ll likely stumble over the mossy tombstones of deceased giants acid jazz, glam rock and intelligent drum’n’bass. Yet there’s one plot over in the corner that remains empty: techno. This sepulchre will never be fulfilled.