Artwork by Igor Siwanowicz
When Marcel Dettmann casually admitted René Pawlowitz was the producer behind the anonymous Equalized label (and the subsequent transformation of Shed’s Myspace account into Waxalized), more than a few lingering suspicions were confirmed. In retrospect, the rhythmic complexity and painstakingly crafted timbres of these stamped white labels share palpable kinship with Pawlowitz’s Shed and STP tracks — a degree of production prowess uncommon in the majority of releases being cranked out breakneck speeds. Shorn of identity intrigue, the second Wax single, No. 20002, offers further testament to the acuity of Pawlowitz’s musical vision.
While a certain artistic restlessness has him programming breakbeats on one track and cascading 4×4 rhythms for the next, Pawlowitz has also proven comfortable meditating on certain themes across monikers and releases. He revised the incisive chatter nibbling through the A-side of Wax “10001” on “Equalized #002″‘s “A,” filing down the toothy progressions and affording spaced out resonance to its bite. This A-side motif returns in its most relentless form on “20002,” its lunging, three note attack taking on a static role around which Pawlowitz shapes percussive details. Yet for all of “A”‘s clear-cut functionality (which will no doubt attract its fair share of DJs), many will be tempted to flip to the dazzling B-side from the start. It’s hardly the first time Pawlowitz has stashed the tastiest bits on side B (see both Equalized 12″s), that of “No. 20002″ easily ranks among his best and housiest.
Banged out piano chords chase hopeful, harmonizing string stabs like a cat and mouse game, all the while splashed by the frothy edges of reverberating tones. Its melodic grace contrasts with grainy, yet ultimately well calibrated percussion that leaps upon listeners like a suddenly recalled memory. Flickering hi-hats and hushed ride lines usher in a starlit swing rhythm; cracking snare hits are disguised as air rushing through rusty pipes; and bulky bass tones shift ever so slightly, so as not to disturb the delicate balance. Sensual in its outward simplicity and evocative of the Main Street Records aesthetic, side B encapsulates so much of what I admire about René Pawlowitz’s artistic approach. The wait for his next communique will be made more manageable by leaving this platter on my turntable.