In 2006 I saw Pinch DJ at DMZ in Brixton. I think it was one of the first DMZ dances since the Breezeblock Dubstep Warz show had put the then relatively unknown London music on the world map. It was one of those sets I’ll never quite forget as the Bristol DJ and producer worked his way through some of the most mind bending and physically powerful riddims I’d heard, tapping into the then popular crossroads of dubstep and minimal techno pioneered by his own label, Tectonic, as well as others like Skull Disco, Peverelist and more. It was dancefloor bliss as I lost myself in the music and came out on the other side feeling like I’d had one of those truly illuminating moments.
I bring this story up for two reasons. Firstly, it forever changed the way I view Pinch and his work. After that night he became one of my favourite DJs within the realm of dubstep, someone who as a selector, producer and label head has always tried to stay true to the original ethos of the music as being something that cannot be simply labelled and put into a bpm box. Somewhere at the back of my mind I’m always hoping for a similar epiphany to spring up after hearing him play. Secondly, and more to the point, he helms the latest FabricLive mix, number 61 in the ongoing series, and does a perfect job of using the mix as an example of why he is still one of the more challenging DJs within the scene.
The tracklist is a neat encapsulation of Tectonic’s output from recent years, the sort of dancefloor music Pinch has pioneered and pushed and a few curveballs for good measure. It’s varied and challenging refusing to rely on a uniform idea of what makes people dance or a single, unmovable tempo. It starts hard and finishes hard rarely letting off along the way, aside from a few deeper, more meditative moments such as his collaboration with Shackleton, his remix of Henry & Louis or his collaboration with Quest, all of which are slotted pretty much next to each other roughly ten or so minutes in.
Like most in the series, this edition of Fabriclive needs to be listened to and experienced (even if it’s just in your headphones) as a whole to get the full effect. Personal favourites from the tracklist are the aforementioned deeper productions as well as F’s “Slow Down”, a personal favourite of recent years, his collaboration with Loefah, “Broken”, which sounds like vintage eyes-down skanking and the Roska, Goth-Trad, Om Unit and Illum Sphere productions which are all taken from the forthcoming “Tectonic Plates vol. 3” compilation and neatly showcase the label’s attempts to keep pushing at the edges of a sound and scene that have solidified into one single all-encompassing identity.
“FabricLive 61” is a proper ride with a master at the helm. It invokes hazy memories of dark rooms and chest crushing bass pressure and lighter moments. It’s also, in a way, a pretty accurate sonic picture of a night out on the Fabric dancefloor. I don’t think more is needed to cement Pinch’s standing as one of the most consistently rewarding artists to come out dubstep. Though should anyone feel differently, then this mix-CD only adds weight to the argument. And it’s the perfect appetiser for what’s coming in 2012.