Pangaea Release

It's highly appropriate that when I loaded the promo for Release into iTunes the genre tag read simply "Hessle Audio." After all, Pangaea, along with other acts on Hessle's roster, have all been instrumental in cementing the label's rich and cohesive sound: a dance music sub-genre in its own right. As with other Hessle discs, Release offers abundant low-end and clear, lean arrangements that nod in the direction of a variety styles: funk, garage, techno and even the elegant simplicity of some of the early Warp releases. Juxtaposing tight, precise (and often swung) drum syncopations with dazed, dub-y echo effusions, which spin off into the distance, the atmosphere remains largely mysterious throughout, save for buoyant opener "Game," which features anthemic vocal chants samples, stuttering beats and percolating synths. "Trouble" plays like a distant cousin of Plez's "Can't Stop," with tropical woodblock flourishes and the occasional interjection from a disembodied MC. "Time Bomb" delivers a relentless elliptical rhythm, making it one of the disc's highlights. Bold and robust, these eight tracks are sure to engage any fan of the label's prior output. (Hessle Audio)