Pangaea, AKA Kevin McAuley, has been at the cutting-edge of electronic music as a producer and DJ for a decade and a half. He's maintained a magnetic output that derives its energies from a synthesis of the familiar and the futuristic, with his 2023 album on Hessle Audio, Changing Channels, only the latest example. Expansive references from his long-time engagement with disparate UK dance music cultures intersect with relentless rhythmic exploration and an appetite for the experimental, with an undeniable dancefloor impact and upfront immediacy. In his DJ sets – and in the productions they inspire – genres combust, collide, and cohere, creating entirely new innovations in their wake. 2023 will be 16 years since Pangaea's first release for Hessle Audio, the boundary-pushing label he co-founded with Pearson Sound and Ben UFO, and Changing Channels represents some of his most intentional, club-ready work, a jolting reminder that functional doesn't mean complacent.
The title suggests a transition, and Pangaea, based in South London, is indeed testing out a few different remote controls. But the LP sits within his ongoing reputation as a producer of assertive, grooving tracks on Hessle and his own imprint Hadal that have found frequent play on dancefloors worldwide. "When I started Hadal, it was a space for me to try and refine a more club-focused sound," McAuley says, and that process in the years since In Drum Play has been fruitful. A renewed focus on the technical elements hasn't distracted from an innate musicality and intimate sense of arrangement, either. It's the culmination of several years of refinement and cohesion that suggest a production perspective where excitement, fun, and optimism reign.
Changing Channels also reflects an ongoing conversation between Pangaea's productions and his DJ sets at renowned clubs and festivals like Berghain, fabric, Dekmantel, Glastonbury, Junction 2, and Houghton. There's a feedback loop where the records he plays became a northstar for tracks he wants to make that feel compatible, but still memorable and identifiable as his own. It's a process also audible in his long-running residency for Rinse FM, where an ongoing engagement with different crowds and styles creates a laboratory for testing ideas. Hessle Audio likewise continues to be a centrifugal force that inspires his releases. "It's quite obvious when a record of mine feels like a Hessle record," he says. They tend to be the outcome of an open-minded approach and his natural musical inclinations, where influences and experiences come to the fore without him trying to pursue a specific style.
Pangaea's music and DJing are steeped in expansive references to UK dance music cultures while offering an explosive mutation all his own. A strange, banging energy comes from his finding space between sounds and scenes, and these uncharted paths continue to hold new discoveries many years on.