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Wax – Wax 40004 review

There’s always been an undeniably fun element to René Pawlowitz’s music. His two full length albums under the Shed moniker saw him wear his influences on his sleeve yet still carve out his own little inimitable sonic niche. His “Boom Room” track on last year’s Fünf compilation for Ostgut Ton was an utter beast, just the right side of silly – how can that relentless mechanical thump not raise a cheeky smile? And raising the bar even further was the Hardwax exclusive Head High project – if you’re at a loss for a suitable example of raw 90s rave revivalist tackle then look no further. Originally surfacing last year under a cloak of mystery and techno intrigue, it was in all honesty little surprise to discover Pawlowitz was the producer behind such a pummelling slice of retro machine funk. Who else could it have been, really?

The Wax series, meanwhile, has followed a reassuring path, plodding along at the rate of one 12″ per year in between other projects. A simple but devastatingly effective formula has been developed, copied by many but matched by none – white label vinyl, no track titles, two slabs of unadulterated dancefloor-friendly techno. On the stamped side of 40004 you’ll find pumping chords reigning blows down on rasping hats and a volumous bottom end – the kind of low frequencies that Cosmin TRG has been nailing lately. The brace of mid-section breakdowns will have DJs reaching for it the moment that first bead of sweat drops from the roof onto the dancefloor below. The track on the unstamped side is, initially at least, more linear in persuasion; however the straight up techno bass drum is soon joined by a softly soaring synth line and a melodic hook that is looped and contorted to perfection.

Aaron Coultate