Pangaea Viaduct EP
- Words: Si Truss
- Label: Hadal
- XLR8R Rating: 8.5/10
On the first release for his new Hadal label, Hessle co-founder Kevin McAuley (a.k.a. Pangaea) continues to toy with the amalgamation of techno, hardcore, and jungle influences that characterize the sound of his double EP from last year, Release. But where that record occasionally sacrificed dancefloor impact in favor of intricacy and structural complexity, McAuley's latest three tracks make no such compromise; instead, they blend detailed sonics with irresistibly full-on rhythms to create some of the most enjoyable club tunes we've heard all year.
"Viaduct" is a storming construction of fuzzy percussion and warehouse-ready rhythms. Its opening loops pack an immediate impact, as the shuffling, degraded drum-machine beat combines with teases of minimal melodic elements to entice the listener with an oddly comforting feeling of oversaturated warmth. Once the straightforward kick and hi-hat pattern enters around the two-minute mark, however, the track kicks into gear and unfolds into something reminiscent of late-'90s British techno at its most gritty and direct.
On the flip, "Mission Creep" treads similarly club-friendly territory. Its composition of abrasively rhythmic vocal snippets and uneven, white-noise hi-hats make good on the detailed percussion that McAuley teased on Release, but the energetic backbone of dense kicks and tight, whip-like snares keep the production's focus directly on the dancefloor. "Razz," meanwhile, is the most hyperactive moment on Pangaea's 12", as its relentless churn of toms and outbursts of crackling synths utterly ooze with peak-time energy. Before Viaduct, the producer demonstrated a knack for combining classic strains of club music into something more unique and unusual, but the artist's latest offering takes things a step further—amalgamating the best of vintage techno with dubstep's hardcore and jungle roots to create music that's meant solely for laying a dancefloor to waste.
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