Pugilist – Cha // Syncopate [MH004]

Since carving his own path away from the duo Perverse, Pugilist has enjoyed rolling out smooth, often dub-infused basslines. His releases on Artikal see him tinkering with head-down, sub driven power at both 140bpm and half-time 170bpm spectrums. Navy Cut’s provided a platform for his patient, introverted steppas beats. Then Modern Hypnosis, a label in Melbourne founded late last year, let him drive further into techno with MH001, showing that no genre is beyond his skill tree. It seems that the hypnotist, Pugilist, has been invited back to concoct MH004. The EP features two tracks, “Cha” (130bpm) and “Syncopate” (140bpm). Both tracks are interesting genre-hybrids that hark back to releases like Hodge & Facta’s Spheres Of Costa Rica on Tempa.

On side A, Cha’s industrial backdrop is mixed with crisp, tropical percussion and a light-hearted vocal sample that pushes each section forward. It’s single drop business that steps up the drums gradually until the end, where the first sign of melody rises and takes some percussive layers away with it. After all that building, the track needs something to come in and gently usher away a few of the hats awkwardly crowding the mix. Apart from this, the track has a well paced up-beat vibe and the long bass note that stabs in at the drop is bound to sound great on a system.

On the flip, Syncopate sticks its kicks in triplets. This one could add a bit of footwork to any strictly 140 set. Aside from the sub and drums, the track is spacious, meaning there’s plenty of room for another tune’s mid-riff or melody to puzzle in. The intricate, yet steady percussion alongside the sparse delayed plucks do justice to the label’s name. The fractions of vocal samples almost seem out of place, but in doing so create a dark atmosphere. A beatless interlude cuts in towards the end, which some may consider a useful opportunity to switch BPMs from 140 to… anywhere really.

While clear elements of dubstep, techno and dub are in both tracks, there is an experimental distinction amongst the drum patterns that keep them on the fence. Though this might keep the release from easily finding a home with any particular crowd, it does make it a versatile EP that enables you to inject Pugilist’s cool, technical sound in a wide range of mixes.

MH004 will be released July 27th and available from Unearthed Sounds, Redeye, White Peach, Juno, Intense Records and the Modern Hypnosis Store.

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