Monday, January 25, 2010
Pangaea - Pangaea EP
B1 Sunset Yellow
D1 Dead Living
D2 Because of You
Having piqued the ear of many with his debut "Coiled" and the awesome "Router"—an anthem partly responsible for the strong vocal renaissance within future thinking garage music—Pangaea has taken his sweet time with his release schedule, quietly putting out a 12-inch for Scuba's Hotflush imprint before rounding off 2009 with a bootleg white label of another superbly vocal-led roller, "Memories."
Starting the ball rolling in 2010 for his own Hessle Audio label—an imprint he runs with Ben UFO and Ramadanman—Pangaea's six track EP has a lot to live up to; or rather it has his lack of output to exceed. It proves its worth from the get-go, though, with the bumpy marching drums and ascending bass/organ combo of "Why," which positively bursts into life at the chorus with yet another strong female vocal hook and lolloping snares flamming on every other bar's second beat.
"Sunset Yellow" is an apt and sensitive display of Pangaea's minimal approach, as he rolls soft pads before hushed organs behind a progressing drum beat that skips with all those little percussion flickers and hurried flourishes that pepper most of the Hessle label's output. Keeping his mix simple, he lets his bubbling melody breathe but later smothers it with fighting layers of screeching female vocals. "5-htp" seems built from a more junglist sound palette with those classic boom resonating bass stabs ebbing away behind constant hi-hat flourishes, offbeat snares and a machine hum. It's at this stage that you really notice his talent for arrangement, as he uses the piano-riddled sample to completely switch the tone, while stuttering and underpinning his main snare hits to accentuate the rhythm as it accommodates the subtle melody. It's a constant running theme throughout his work; "Neurons" sees him letting his eerie vocal sample ring out before weaving in the warbling synth hook, adding the constant percussion to drive the impact and frame the progression.
Pangaea's vision can sometimes start to sound a bit bleak, thanks in no small part to his talent for fusing sprawling chords with layers of atmospherics. But with a quick smattering of winding synth on "Dead Living," he immediately manages to lift the track and take it somewhere drastically different, playing up the awkward riff and amplifying its impact. And on closer "Because of You" he does things that completely contrast the preceding bars, as if he's feeding himself deeper into the recesses of his late night recording sessions.
Even though there is dance floor fodder on tracks like "Why," "Sunset Yellow" and "Dead Living," the buzzwords for this EP should be depth and subtlety. Much like the way Pangaea chooses to irk out his music slowly, his productions take that extra bit of time to creep up on you, gradually becoming more and more infectious...www.residentadvisor.net