Review: This two-track single marks Rene Pawlowitz's return to 50 Weapons following the release of his divisive album The Killer last year, which saw him stepping outside of his usual home of Ostgut Ton for Modeselektor's club-focused imprint. Straddling the line between techno, bass and ambient, it was the kind of album that saw Pawlowitz largely leave behind the clubbier focus of his Head High, Wax, EQD or WK7 aliases to the frustration of some. This release however sees two more distinctly ravier tracks: "The Dirt" which combines turbulent synth textures and threadbare but propulsive rhythms, and the hardcore-influenced "Fluid 67", which packs enough '90s tinged euphoria into its 5 minutes to silence the naysayers.
Review: Modeselektor are clearly keen to make 50 Weapons' last few releases as strong as possible. For this 12", they've turned to Berlin techno titan Shed, who - somewhat predictably - more than delivers the goods. "Dark Planet" is a thick, tough and driving beast, with chopped-up, manipulated vocal snippets forming a quirky melody line above a thumping rhythm that neatly combines pounding kick-drums and hissing cymbals. This is no-nonsense, floor-friendly techno that comes laden with sly funk. Modeselektor themselves have a go at remixing it on the flip, delivering a far weirder, wilder, stranger and - bizarrely - more melodious 'broken techno' interpretation.
Review: Rene Pawlowitz is without a doubt one of techno's most defining producers. The Berlin based producer known for powerful and emotive warehouse anthems under such guises as Head High, EQD, WAX and Seelow returns for his third full length album as Shed; the first in five years since 2012's terrific Killer LP. All the hallmarks of his distinct sound are on display once again; on the brooding "Black Heart" or the bittersweet "Taken Effect" there's rusty, dusted down and broken up drums big enough to fill a stadium and backed by those mesmerising and hypnotic pads. It's beautiful in all its sinister rave glory. By contrast, interludes such as "Extreme SAT" introduce yet more gorgeous pads and shimmering arpeggios on this simple yet effective exercise in ambient: one of several beatless journeys on the album. "Call 32075!" romanticizes the heyday of early '90s techno, effectively bridging the gap between elements of Detroit hi-tech soul and British IDM; Peacefrog style. Immaculately programmed rhythms, powerful bass pulsations and emotive/life affirming elements all combine wonderfully and in a way that only Pawlowitz can.
Review: Oderbruch is Rene Pawlowitz's fifth artist album as Shed, and the title refers to the place in east Germany he comes from. It's no surprise then that this long player is a deeply personal affair. "Die Oder", named after the river in that region, flows serenely thanks to a slip-slide rhythm and gentle pads. "Menschen & Mauern" is the polar opposite, with Pawlowitz dropping high-speed break beats and evocative organ playing. A similarly introspective mood plays out on the dusky sound scapes of "Sterbende Alleen", where Pawlowitz's sense of disillusionment is palpable. However, like any personalised work, the mood swings, with the dreamy "Nacht, Fluss, Grille, Auto, Frosch, Eule, Mucke" restoring a sense of calm with its bucolic tones.
Review: All lists are subjective, but there's no doubt that Bambounou aka Jeremy Guindo-Zegiestowski has done a fine job in compiling this selection from Modeselektor's 50 Weapons label. Tracks that start off as functional techno workouts - Datei42's "They Explore Themselves" and the Truncate take on Benjamin Damage's "010x" - progress to reveal glowing chord sequences, while the compilation twists and turns through noisy soundscapes (Benjamin Damage's "Spirals"), thumb-snapping tight footwork (Addison Groove & Sam Binga's "Thr3id)" and some ultra-lean techno from Marcel Dettmann and Cosmin TRG. However, nothing can compare to the washes of old school rave synths and lithe break beats that constitute Shed's "The Dirt".