Shed
The Killer


3.0
good

Review

by Deviant STAFF
August 14th, 2012 | 29 replies | 7,654 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The killer he may be, but by no means the killer elite

Throughout 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. His casual use of London's greatest recent export, that of course being dubstep, has always been skeletal and fragmented; perhaps as a result of his distance from the source, its use has always come at arms length.

Now this give and take of course goes both ways; even a casual observer would be able to point out the influence that a scene like Berlin's with its stone-faced techno has had on the London underground. The decade-old 2step has now almost completely given way to more broken beat placement, and house music has found its rhythmic and sturdy foundations threatened by more visceral and pummeling pads and the faded hiss of snake-like synths and tape distortion. For a man like Pawlowitz, the creative titling of his last LP seemed more of an obvious choice than anything remotely whimsical; The Traveler Pawlowitz might very well be, alternating, as he does, from tempo to tempo, genre to genre. This is of course a prospect which some might find to be exciting; others, of course, may see this as a sign of an artist lacking any real direction.

How you perceive his knack for embracing any genre (is it talent, or is he simply emulating those around him?) will ultimately decide how you absorb Pawlowitz's latest outing under his chief moniker of Shed. For The Killer is many things; at times it's a bruising assault of the kind of techno designed to strip the paint off already decaying walls, and at others it's somewhat more reclusive, a fragile thing that seems to shiver in the cold light of day. Contrast might very well be key here, but the listening experience is somewhat akin to alternating between a hot and cold shower. And it's a difference in tone that's not always patently obvious; while Pawlowitz takes a great deal of pride in his ability to jump from a tune that feels like some discarded or forgotten rave thunder storm into something more mentally cerebral, every track still operates under a few basic fundamentals. No matter how barren a Shed tune may begin, it's an unforgiving premise, a wary preface that slowly builds in ethereal-like tension, either culminating in a bright flash of light or acting like the eye of a storm where billowing synths dash about your ears like a butterfly caught in a tornado. No matter what particular glove he may be wearing, Pawlowitz is nothing if not incredibly methodical, a professional constantly refining and reassembling his hardware.

This ability to wear the hat of so many is something of an illusion though, a stage actor's sleight of hand. The trick to pinpointing a Shed tune doesn't lie so much in attempting to figure out where his ambitions might lie on any given day, but just what aspect of his persona he's currently tapping into. Which makes The Killer something of a bitter disappointment; not in execution but premise. His magician's glove is still made from the same fabric as one that he's employed in the past; his ability to juggle so many identities is nothing new, and Shed in 2012 is still the same multifaceted Shed we knew in 2008, and again in 2010. Which gives us an album that's all too predictable, the decision to duck and dive through varying tempo's and agreeable motifs feeling less like the thrill of the producer and more the simple ticking of boxes. An ambient interlude gives way to a stumbling and drunken broken beat, before evolving into the industrial clockwork of warehouse mayhem - this is an assembly line that's been spewing out the same product for years now.

And while it still sounds fresh it's still wearing the same threads, still talking in the same voice and moving in exactly the same way. Would a simple alteration of the playlist have produced better results though? Not likely, as there would still be that lingering sense of an artist simply going through the motions. While 2008's Shedding The Past will stand as the obvious deterrent to this argument, there's the question as to whether Shed is simply better at making songs than he is albums. Because separately, there is a lot on offer here to be excited about; the abrasive grinding wheel of the relentless 'I Come By Night' with its machine-like fluidity that seems destined to puncture the night for any DJ bold enough to play it, its ruthless beat the snapshot of the faceless entity dancing in front of you, each hit forever cementing her silhouette in infamy. 'Day After', that takes its cues from a far loftier disposition, cutting its identity out of steppers granite; even 'You Got The Look', while based on a simple premise, works because of its ability to exist on two completely different levels - dancefloor conundrum and midnight think tank. Even something as simple as throwing a clean piano break on album closer 'Follow The Leader' is enough to hold the spartan doldrums at bay, simply because it is something just a little different, even if it's something that can only exist in the moment.

It ends the album on a somewhat lighter note, and allows us a chance to reflect back, not just on the album, but the artist in question. It's unfortunate that that pause for breath instills in us some degree of doubt, allowing us not to shower this album in the same level of attention and glory that's been handed out to Pawlowitz in the past but to wonder if maybe this traveling routine of his is getting just a little too mundane. If he is in fact The Killer, then he's now simply a hired gun, and one can only wonder what we might benefit from his acceptance of a more permanent residence.



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user ratings (10)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2012



30873 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I Come By Night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryymHd6WjP4
Day After: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90uB9e9a-_E
Follow The Leader: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5koSmfCP-U

THOUGHTS RUNNING THROUGH MY HEAD SOME ARE GOOD SOME ARE NOT BAD THOUGHTS RUNNING THROUGH MY HEAD SOME ARE GOOD SOME ARE NOT BAD THOUGHTS RUNNING THROUGH MY HEAD SOME ARE GOOD SOME ARE NOT BAD THOUGHTS RUNNING THROUGH MY HEAD SOME ARE GOOD SOME ARE NOT BAD

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 14th 2012



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Massive review man. A lot of good point you're raising. I still like this a bit better than you do, but I agree it's kind of predictable.

Also: "a thief in the dead of night to to speak."

Digging: Shackleton - Deliverance Series No. 1

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2012



30873 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Cheers man, now if only I could access my profile hmmm

Are we back to the old days where you're the first one to comment on my reviews now? haha

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 14th 2012



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

At least I never said "First!" or anything. :]

Been really digging the Berghain brand of techno lately, so I've given this a fair amount of spins in the last few weeks. Would love to experience it in a club environment.

Also, the old days lol. I've only been here for a year or so.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2012



30873 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Eh, "old days"/last month - same thing

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 14th 2012



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh btw, could you upload the album art for Dettmann, Dev? I wouldn't work when I put it in the database...

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2012



30873 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Done (just refresh the page if the art doesn't show up straight away)

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 14th 2012



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sweet! I added the album a couple of days ago though, so refreshing didn't work then. Idk, must've been a bad jpeg.

mindleviticus
August 14th 2012



8166 Comments


Sweet! Thanks for "shed"ding some light on this album ;]

scissorlocked
August 14th 2012



3508 Comments


recently listened to Shedding the past which was amazing.Thinking of digging it a lot after proceeding to "the Traveler" and this

Digging: John Roberts - Ausio

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
August 14th 2012



4507 Comments


Great review, was meaning to check this out but now I'm not so sure.

mindleviticus
August 14th 2012



8166 Comments


@MisterTornado check it out. In my opinion, it's not as meh as Dev. says, but it is a tiny bit
lackluster

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2012



30873 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't think you'll really like it, you probably won't hate it though

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2012



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, was meaning to check this out but now I'm not so sure.

Get yourself some good amps and you'll like it.

chtrenne
August 15th 2012



75 Comments


Sounds like something I couldn't sit all the way through... dubstep doesn't really seem like an 'album' sort of genre. Well written, though... maybe even a few too MANY metaphors.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2012



6361 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's not dubstep though...

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 15th 2012



30873 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well there's not much dubstep here (in the traditional sense), plus all the great dubstep albums out there disagree with you

CaptainDooRight
August 16th 2012



28335 Comments


will prolly hv to go through ur 4.5 revs and see if I find anything I like. Interesting seeing you rev'd some metal albums early on.

Digging: IQ - The Road of Bones

Rev
August 19th 2012



9380 Comments


Still haven't heard anything from this guy

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2012



30873 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pick up Shedding The Past



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