Pangaea: New Shapes in the Air (Hadal)
Hessle Audio affiliate Kevin McAuley returns to his own Hadal imprint for this four-tracker EP of gritty, slightly-off beats. “Something In Your Eye” is pinned by a thumping 5 on, 3 off bass kick that lends it a strange stop-start quality that still somehow encourages steady movement. There’s an added layer of grit and texture in its rhythm section, with staticky hihats and effects while a woozy synth attempts to find its way overhead. “Stimulant Dub” loops a ragga vocal over another lurching hihat and halfbeat combo, with a really clean mid-section that distills down to the rhythm essentials and detailed effects, a handsome payoff after the looping vocal runs the risk of testing one’s patience.
But the most solid cut here for me by far is “New Shapes in the Air,” a rousing techno track with a really punchy kick-snare pairing and zipping squeaks of sound that loop in time. It has all of the physicality of Blawan without its abrasion, leaner and cleaner. He moves even closer to traditional techno tropes with the last cut, “They Buy Gold,” with its insistent dirty kick and a tightly sequenced synth pattern. Clearly aimed more at the dancefloor with its tracky nature and rougher around the edges sensibility, for both DJs and dancers alike, very well done.