Pan-Pot – “Voodoo Signs” (Second State) [Vinyl: October 1, 2021]

By incorporating funky breakbeats alongside driving 4/4 beats in Voodoo Signs, Pan-Pot are testing the waters as they leave themselves open for experimentation.

Pan-Pot drops their two track vinyl version of Voodoo Signs this week after its digital release earlier in June following a long string of straightforward techno releases on their own Second State imprint. The “Voodoo Signs” release breaks away from their signature Pan-Pot style and looks to incorporate more breakbeat elements, providing a fresh new take that seems a bit more raw and driving when compared to their past work. The added crunch of the breakbeats opens up a lot of new avenues for them to explore and they seem to be testing each one with every section of the tracks, excitedly exploring those possibilities within these cuts.

“Voodoo” takes the lead in this release as this cut. It comes and pulls you by the shoulders into a pulsing and distinctly tribal flavored track. What’s truly surprising are the different directions the track takes. From one moment to the next, it’s a new concept, either deep and hypnotic, atmospheric, epic or calculatingly subdued. It seems they are pushing you into unknown states and leading you into several frothy alternate states of consciousness, one after another, until we finally find ourselves at the last break, faced with these compressed and abbreviated hoover stabs that set off the filtered timbales in a truly ill fashion.

The flip of the release here, “Signs,” can be described as a fast paced club track with a restrained, epically hypnotic feel. What really carries the track is the blipping synth that seems to be in a poly meter against the track. The polyrhythmic synth keeps the track invigorating and frees up the duo to explore simple 4/4 techno beats against more complex percussion, or cinematic vs. dissonant pads. The vocal sample “searching” heard on repeat here is accurate in that they are looking to see what combinations will set off tension throughout the track, before finally settling in on an ‘amen break’ that sets off the peak of the track near the end. The breakbeat here gives the listener a brief window on an old ravey hardcore vibe that has been making the rounds in the techno scene as of late. Something which can be seen with artists like FJAAK leaning heavily into that vibe and DJs like Ellen Allien who are known to drop their favorite records from days gone by. For a DJ trying to bridge the gap between a straightforward, driving club track to new techno that references a world where the British ‘Summer of Love’ lives on in perpetuity, this track is a great way to accomplish that.

The release is a welcome treat to dance floors and it’s nice to hear one more step in Pan-Pot’s evolving sound. Broken beats are not very new to techno layering, but what’s different is the way Pan-Pot uses them to create a vibe within each track on this release. Either as a frenetic and energetic trance-like state or to provide a classic element that changes the whole direction of flow in a set. As Pan-pot continues to tour, we should see whether or not these tracks leave a lasting impact on their work as they surely have been testing this release among all sorts of crowds this past summer. As such, it will be interesting to see whether they keep or pull the breakbeat variations in future releases.

-Sean Ocean

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