Shed: Shedding the Past
Ostgut Ton

Does the ambiguous title mean that's Shed's divesting himself of influences, or that he's riffing on it, as “woodshedding” would imply? No matter: while the shy Soloaction head—no real name disclosed, though we do know he's East German born and raised—does perpetuate techno's rich heritage, his debut album Shedding The Past wastes little time on trivialities. Most tracks on the artful hour-long set are in the seven-minute range—long enough for the material to develop but not so long it overstays its welcome.

The appropriately-titled “Boose Sweep” does, in fact, layer electronic scrapes that suggest a sweeping motion over a thumping Detroit-inflected pulse. Halfway through, the cut settles into a gallop of thunderously swinging proportions before giving way to the mercilessly hard techno attack of “Another Wedged Chicken.” The vibe carries over into the feverish techno propulsion of “Flat Axe,” the bass-heavy rumble of “ITHAW,” and intricately-wired funk outing “Estrangé” (powered by a wicked combination of pounding bass drum and snapping snares). Shed also wisely mixes things up on occasion, most dramatically in “Waved Mind/Archive Document,” which moves from ambient episode to grainy time capsule recording before segueing into the pounding club throb of “That Beats Everything!” Dub production values emerge in the shimmering flourishes that echo across the trippy groove skipping through “The Lower Upside Down” and dubby chords likewise cascade through the euphoric stormer “Slow Motion Replay,” but make no mistake: Shedding The Past is techno and proud of it. It's also a thoroughly rewarding headphones listen, with “Slow Motion Replay” and “Estrangé” in particular beautiful examples of Shed's artistry.

October 2008