Head High – ‘Megatrap’ (Power House)

As those of you that dropped in at the Night Slugs birthday in London just over a week ago will know, Rene Pawlowitz (aka Shed aka Head High aka WK7 aka Evil Fred aka EQD etc. etc.) is a man that truly feels the music he creates. Growing up in a region that fully grasped rave culture, he cut his musical teeth on the party scene that erupted from 1989 onwards. The following period has made such a strong imprint on the artist’s sound that those tales of Berlin party freedom still resonate in his music, over 25 years later.

His most recent body of work as Head High and in fact most of his pieces under the same alias, have been informed by an amalgamation of sounds. Known for his eclectic tastes and strong leaning toward Dubstep and Garage, the listener is instantly informed of his intentions with a typically thudding, distorted kick drum, followed by rattling hi-hats that lead into the cacophony of percussion and a synth-led, two-tone melody that are archetypically Pawlowitz.

His literal interpretation of variations on a theme could be argued as lazy or slack, in producing the double EP he has relied on two productions to create 45% of the piece, which brings up the issue of differentiation in dance music and how to establish a connection with the audience whilst also remaining intriguing. The trick in overcoming this issue lies in creating an atmosphere or a feeling that is individual, to the artist and to the piece. ‘Hex Pad’ draws parallels to ‘Ber’ from his ‘A100’ EP as The Traveller. Although far more condensed in duration, the tracks both achieve an ecstatic moment that tries to encapsulate the all-to-often-repeated, but apt phrase – rave.

His idiosyncratic style is what creates that aforementioned instant recognition, but it’s his mastery of percussion that truly sets him apart from his Berlin Techno peers. The title track (Real Mix) is a brilliant blend of rattling snares and driving bass stabs, a half-time kick that slows down the proceedings right till the last 16 where the LP effortlessly ramps up a gear and gives the next mix some continuity.

Recycling sounds is something Pawlowitz certainly isn’t afraid of. His ability as a production artist shines through in the 3 varying mixes of the title track, each with their own flavour. The (Mix Mix) version takes on a darker evolution through an oscillating sample, elevated synths and a haunting vocal that compliments the mood instead of overpowering it. From the synthed-up string-led, Dub-inspired feel of ‘Power Seat’ into the more regular territory of stripped out piano reiterations, floating on top of kicks and reverb which balance perfectly. I think it would work just as well in half-time signature as it does at full-pace.

Pawlowitz would seem to have a business-like mind when it comes to releasing music. Timely tracks with such euphoric overtones tends to give create a brilliant level of publicity. As with last year’s ‘Burning’ EP and this latest piece of work, he knows that the summer months are a time to party on and fully embrace a hedonistic lifestyle, if only for the evening.

‘Megatrap’ is available to buy on digital and vinyl now here.

Oliver Todd