Was it just me, or did it feel like the first world lost its sense of rhythm at the turn of the century? Considering how thoroughly the elecro-rhythmic terrain was excavated in the nineties, the great rhythmic recession of the 00s saw dance music on a whole becoming more rhythmically conservative (speaking in broad strokes here) while letting the sonic end of the spectrum go totally HAM. Indeed, getting into techno at the middle of last decade likely meant encountering the atomic rhythms of Ricardo Villalobos, a producer who can truly flex both his rhythmic and sound design muscles--something few seem able to balance adequately--in a way that felt like a logical next step in dance music's assumptive progression....except that not many of his peers really bothered to keep their ambitions up and mnml slid quickly into the "designer techno" bin.
For listeners like myself who discovered the world of René Pawlowitz via his breakthrough Shedding The Past album as Shed, one might not initially clocked the producer as a UK-indebted explorer of the rhythmic fringes, so neat and confined were the sounds and beats on that album. Of course, if you weren't a techno n00b circa 2008, then you likely knew of Pawlowitz via his IDM techno banger "The Fall" put out under his STP alias. Released on his own Subsolo imprint, "The Fall" likely stuck out like a twitchy thumb for any DJ who played the track upon its release in 2007 as it marries the economical mixdown of mid-00s Villalobos-friendly mnml while matching that producer's rhythmic ambition on a more macro level to create a cut that sounds like the offspring between the Chilean-born artist and Force + Form-era Surgeon.
Following a 2009 remix EP back that featured the mighty talents of both T++ and Peverelist, Pawlowitz returned once more to his early-career breakthrough with treatments from two of his aliases. Now, for anyone who's been following his career since the mid-00s, over the course of Shedding's follow-ups--including last year's criminally-overlooked The Final Experiment--the producer soon revealed his productions to be far more rhythmically ambitious on such album-buried bangers as "Keep Time" as well as his fervor for breakbeat techno back when nary a beat was heard that didn't sound machine-made. All of which is to say, if you've been paying attention, then his Panamax Refix of "The Fall" likely wasn't as much of a jaw-dropper as it was for this guy. But hey, dude puts out a shit ton of dance music. EIther way, the rhythm science heard on the A-side is truly something to behold as a raucous funk beat is dilated through space and time, blown comically out of proportion so as to leave the track's rudimentary melodic elements in charge of keeping the beat. And while the child voice sample and orchestral-choral melodies are decidedly 90s-facing, the forcefully protracted and seamless rhythm situates the track persistently within the present. Now it's on us to play catch up.