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White Noise: Head High – Burning

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Head High – Burning

Label: Power House

The music of René Pawlowitz, aka Shed, Head High, WK7, Wax, EQD (or whatever else you want to call him) has for several years been synonymous with Berlin’s world-class techno scene. While some other countries are now vying for a stake in the techno game, particularly Canada through the style of the Turbo imprint and the UK’s increasing focus on the industrial sound, few single producers have attained Shed’s levels of  renown and consistency. Indeed, Pawlowitz puts out essential records year after year, particularly the singles under his housier, ravier Head High guise, which include last year’s ubiquitous Rave (Dirt Mix) and 2010’s It’s A Love Thing.

Burning (Keep Calm Mix)

Now with typically minimal fanfare another Head High release has appeared on the shelves, just as muscular and floor-focused if not quite as strikingly anthemic as last year’s 12”.  Burning (Keep Calm Mix) kicks off the package with flair, a particularly brawny locked groove giving way to clean, powerful piano chords, a beacon of euphoria within the murky percussive field. As is common with Shed’s work, the simple set of layers is so immaculately crafted that little progression or change is necessary across the track’s course; it’s rich body-music that won’t fail to move a crowd. On the flipside Burning is given a (Keep It… Mix) in which the keys are more subdued, restrained by frequent filter sweeps and a beat pattern which appears to fold in on itself rather than progressing forwards, creating a lurching momentum reminiscent of Head High’s remix of Joy O’s Ellipsis.

Sandwiched between the two piano cuts is Keep On Talking (Dirt Mix), a more familiar but no less efficient slice of crunchy techno. A stammered kick and terse vocal clips play out a call-and-reply with aquatic synthwork, before the track takes off with a sequence of jangling hi-hats. Each one of these three tracks could easily find a place in the crates of all manner of DJs, a testament to the adaptability of Pawlovitz’s muscular sound and to the confidence with which he reconfigures and revitalises his style with each consecutive release.


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