The long-awaited fourth album from Berlin techno virtuoso René Pawlowitz takes an even bolder step forward than its predecessor, 2012's The Killer. Shed's music -- bold, chromatic, and effervescent -- is a far cry from the austere, monochrome style for which his adopted hometown has best become known. Arguably, this album is not really techno at all -- there's not a four-on-the-floor rhythm in sight on a single one of these tracks. While his previous albums have always dug deep into a retro, genre-bending sound, here more than ever is his love affair with classic U.K. jungle, rave, IDM, and acid house writ large. Rooted in the late '80s and early '90s -- arguably the golden age of electronic music -- this album reads like a love letter to early Warp Records artists, but it's never just an exercise in nostalgia, as these influences are combined and twisted into enchanting new shapes. Opening with a beatless, atmospheric synth wash, it quickly segues into "Razor Control," whose heavily syncopated breakbeat and layer upon layer of arpeggiated synth textures make it sound a bit like something Plaid might have turned in back in the day. Likewise "Call 32075!," with its squelching acid bass, twinkling keys, and phat funky drummer break. The tribal drum barrage on "Outgoing Society" is tempered by another classic ambient techno/IDM melody. The high-pitched, filtered synth sound on "Black Heart" sounds just like that utilized by new age/ambient revivalists Visible Cloaks, showing just how deep the influence of this sound goes. Everything about "Flaf2," right down to the title, makes it sound like an early Autechre outtake, while the pounding, relatively straight-ahead "Taken Effect" is perhaps the most "techno" track here. The album's longest track, "Turn to Turn" -- lush, warm, incredibly funky, and equally suited to the dancefloor or the sofa -- unfurls languidly over seven minutes. There's a wealth of detail here, and every track is different. Unlike lots of other producers, Shed doesn't drop numerous 12"s every year, and while others use the album format to "stretch out" (read: overlong and bloated), The Final Experiment clocks in at a fat-free 48 minutes, with only two of its tracks topping the five-minute mark. Shed's fans should be delighted; lovers of the classic Warp Records sound will feel like they've discovered a lost gem, and casual listeners of electronic music should find much to enjoy. This is a great album. Whether it really will be Shed's final experiment remains to be seen, but if so, it certainly sees him going out on a high note.