Hex / Fatalist Hex / Fatalist


Pangaea PangaeaHex / Fatalist

8 / 10

HEMLOCK RECORDINGS (HEK013, 12” + digital)

There's no sign of Kevin McAuley releasing an album any time soon - and the 12”s are coming in slowly - in no hurry. This is why his quality level has been so high since 2008, when “You & I / Router” came out, still in the shadow of Burial’s fragile dubstep, and why his name and work are still covered in mystery. Pangaeais a cult figure in post-dubstep circles - one of the first producers who helped challenge the dominant sound on the London underground scene of the time - yet he’s always been reluctant to feed the hype. Working in silence always gives good results. In the case of Pangaea, it meant being the man in the background at the essential Hessle Audio label - alongside Ben UFO and Ramadanman - helping to shape the underground scene network now dominating the British capital. He worked together with Untold (Hemlock Recordings) and Scuba (Hotflush) whilst - in silence - varying the ingredients of his own sound.

If we compare “Hex / Fatalist” with any of his early EPs ( “Memories” and “Pangaea EP”, for example), it's hard to recognise the same hand. These two tracks are the improved versions of his last single, “Inna Daze / Won’t Hurt”, on which he entered a mine field. McAuley's main interest here is the percussion, a rocky and organic set of rhythms reminiscent of the golden years of British hardcore, like an update of the early works of 4 Hero and DJ Hype, of the glorious sound of labels like Suburban Base: a complex breakbeat, with chipmunk voices, intensity drops and ragga vocals; only slower, like a historic drum'n'bass record played at half speed. “Fatalist” maintains the same sound, with a more buzzing bass but with the same respect for the history, Pangaea pays tribute to by updating it without sounding nostalgic. It sounds to me like British hardcore looking at the horizon; and finding its future there.

Richard Ellmann


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