Pawel, Pawel

Photo by Anna Shelton


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Among the trio of friends — Lawrence, Carsten Jost, Pawel — who founded the Dial label in Hamburg 10 years ago, the latter, Paul Kominek has probably kept the lowest profile, despite being the more senior in terms of release history. Recording as Turner for the defunct Ladomat 2000 since 1998, he received remixes from the likes of Robert Hood, Isolée and Freaks, as well as recording four albums worth of curate’s eggs: Lukin Orgel, Disappearing Brother, A Pack Of Lies and 2005’s Slow Abuse. While Turner albums are characterised by often effete vocals and a home-listening aesthetic, Pawel is the first long-player recorded by Kominek for his dance floor alias.

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Opening track “Panamerican” sets the tone of the album in both title and content. The press blurb cites Carl Craig’s Planet E label and Omar-S as major inspirations for Pawel, but in fact it’s two other less contemporary transatlantic minimalists that are the most apparent influences. Steve Reich and Philip Glass are commonly referenced in the world of techno, but rarely so explicitly, as “Panamerican” shares the bright tones and phase-shifting of both composers. “Alvin” (a tribute to Lucier?) mines similar territory, and it’s somewhat of a relief when a very Transmat sounding synth comes in at three minutes. It’s no secret that the Dial roster are big fans of modern composition (Efdemin studied it formally in Vienna), but it’s hard to shake the feeling throughout this album that his colleagues have done this before, and better.

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Still, there are moments when Pawel certainly rivals his more lauded labelmates, most particularly on “Dawn,” a track made to be played at silly o’clock in Panoramabar when the shutters are opened. Previous single (for Kominek’s own Orphanear label) “Coke” is thumping, ecstatic Detroit techno, as polished as anything on recent Planet E outings. Similarly, the slightly awkward electro beat beyond the wallflower synths of “Muscles” shakes things up among more homogenous fare. Too often though, Pawel sounds, ahem, Dialed in. Glockenspiels, marimbas and twinkling synths are all present and correct, while lush pads and a thudding beat are ever attendant. Which would all be fine if there were memorable arrangements or melodies, but too often tracks such as “Mate” or “Laredo” slip into anonymity. It’s a solid enough album, but given the way that the Laid sub-label seems to have reinvigorated the Hamburg label in the last year, Pawel can’t help but feel like a step back.

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adamm  on February 25, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Loving this, I think some it may mix very well with some Reggie Dokes.

raph a elles  on February 25, 2010 at 2:06 PM

would you stop uploading trqcks on that shitty player it’s awful. thxx

georges  on February 25, 2010 at 5:54 PM

disappointing indeed

grant  on February 25, 2010 at 6:44 PM

Some this is OK. Very, er, pleasant easy listening type stuff.
Sure, the new player is just as annoying as the one on but actually the bottom version which has 30 sec snippets of 10 tracks is great. I like that birdseye view it gives.

Marie Kress  on February 26, 2010 at 2:25 PM

I must disagree with that review! To me the album unfolds more and more with each listening and you get into more details of every track. I think it´s not about tricks and gimmicks here, both composition and sound aesthetic seem so timeless, that for me that is one of the best Dial albums so far..

briank  on March 23, 2010 at 3:33 AM

not an amazing release, and indeed there’s no real ‘standouts’ here, but front-to-back i think this album is a very good one that fits the dial aesthetic pretty well. i’ve enjoyed it a bunch of times now; it’s slowly growing on me…

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