Pinch - FabricLive 61 (16 January)
I don't generally give the Fabric mixes much coverage, partly because they hardly need the rub, partly because few of the mixes lately have gone beyond being predictably okay;
whilst I enjoyed Brodinski's fusion of disco, house, hip-hop and Balearic on Fabriclive 60, there hadn't been a great deal else pushing my buttons lately. I'm listening to a stream of Pinch's forthcoming mix, due in February, and aside from the infuriating Hal-lite voiceover designed to prevent me from making illegal copies, this is a beauty of a mix that takes in a brilliant array of sounds and styles. There's saw-toothed half-step from the likes of Jakes and Goth-Trad, Addison Groove's Juke/Footwork inspired spasticity and even some more straight-up techno from the likes of Shed's EQD project, chopping and changing without becoming confusing or incoherent. Similarly, Pinch throws in multiple dynamic shifts to wrong-foot the listener, booting off with the high energy Venom pt 2 by Distal, he wallops the listener into submission before dropping into Pinch & Shackleton's haunting Rooms within Rooms to break up the mix fairly quickly after. Often this kind of chop-and-change gets all too Jive Bunny, and there's a few FabricLive that have suffered from being too attention deficit and not allowing tracks to breathe (Caspa, Rusko, this means you). However, Pinch's sense of dynamic and narrative makes for a compelling journey.
Pinch's main strength as a producer has always been his ability to create an intense, claustrophobic atmosphere - Underwater Dancehall's sense of sparseness and depth made it one of the more successful artist albums of the UK bass explosion, and he's one of the few dubstep artists I'll contemplate buying on vinyl. Whilst it's full of screeching synths and wobble bass, Pinch channels the same subdued sense of menace into his mix, and we're treated to a skull-crushingly heavy delight.