Dance music occupies a fairly unique landscape in terms of how it’s released. Heavy emphasis on singles and EPs allow artists to put out tunes that don’t necessitate a showcase of their greatest abilities, provided that there’s at least one absolute banger on each release to pick up the slack. With Pangaea’s ambitious double EP, Release, the 43 minute duration of the record requires a consistent level of high quality throughout or else it risks losing our attention. What’s more, longer releases also require a decent amount of musical variation to garner critical reverence, and so, it’s aspiring records of this ilk that decidedly separate the one-trick-ponies from the legacy holders.
Fortunately Pangaea rises to the aforementioned challenges exceedingly well, as he picks up from where he left off on his last couple of releases, Hex and Inna Daze, by retaining his heavy low end brand of rolling, mutant techno. Retaining the darkness that characterized so many of the records coming out of London in the early to mid-2000’s, Release seems to be an ideal model for the direction Dubstep should have taken before its map got pinched by mid-range abusing LFOphiles.
The swinging half-time clout of Middleman is littered with strongly-defined atmospheric jabs that nicely fill out the gaps left behind by the sparse rhythms. Pangaea introduces these elements as flippantly as he takes them away, making this track one of Release’s deeper moments, willing you to listen intently instead of just letting the flow of the groove take you with it. High is a track extends this notion, with it’s 7 and a half minutes of beat-less yet weighty ambience, it’s the sort of thing that wouldn’t seem too out of place on Actress’s latest release, R.I.P. Tactically deployed as the closing piece, it certainly leaves a lasting impression of this record’s grandiosity.
But for the most part, Release is a record that lends itself more towards dark, sweaty club environments than night buses or armchairs. Running through the entirety of this EP is a rich seam of sub bass that packs a powerful punch, whilst the sometimes deceivingly intricate beats give the tunes enough energy to make them more than danceable. Majestic 12 is perhaps the best example of this. 4 tracks in, as the potential for a mid-section lull rears its ugly head, this rare-ish excursion into 4/4 territories for Pangaea really shakes the EP up. But as if that wasn’t enough, this burst of energy is then followed by Time Bomb, Release’s most frantic offering, which lets loose clattering woodblocks, erratic synth flutters and monstrous kicks. A super-charged beast that ploughs headfirst through a brick wall at the start of every bar, Time Bomb is possibly Pangaea’s most powerful piece of work to date. Mark my words; this will soon be going off in a club near you.
Posted: Mon 15 October 2012