Pinch This, Seriously
By Chet Betz | 7 March 2011
While the primary appeal of Pinch’s Underwater Dancehall (2007) was just that it was some incredible dubstep, a secondary achievement was the way it called into question the myth of a “definitive” version of any given track. On Underwater Dancehall Pinch offered two discs, one with vocals and one without, the instrumentals accordingly tweaked in each form to maximize their doubled potentials. Trying to compose a tracklist mixing the best of the two sets was nearly impossible as each version of each song had their own merits—each track as you were listening to it felt like the “right” version until you heard the flip side. “Brighter Day” with Juakali is an all-time great dub single, turning dancehall on its head, transforming Pinch’s own “Qawwali” into something of a brilliant party jam through the addition of those vocals. “Brighter Day” without Juakali is an atmospheric masterpiece, its sonic scraps billowing and whipping around the lovely bones of that beat programming.
Which brings me to this mix that Pinch has done for Resident Advisor, dropped as of last month. Yes, it’s just a mix. But it demonstrates just how much Pinch is a man of impeccable taste; just how much can be accomplished with a couple turntables, a Gemini mixer, and some Logic overlays; just how geared Pinch’s mind is towards creating unique sonic narratives that are fresh and bracing. In this particular narrative he now implies a question inherent to the careers of most house/dub/electronic producers, but put forth on RA.247 with the utmost eloquence—is there such a thing as a definitive context for songs? And in the way that he raises that question he also pushes the parameters of dubstep. Pinch’s RA.247 takes us on an upward climb through BPMs, from about 120 to the dubstep standard of 140, and from the opening murmurs of Brian Eno segueing somehow perfectly into some absolutely next-level cuts from FaltyDL and 2562 and on into a thick jungle of post-dub with new stuff from Pinch himself. A few members of Resident Advisor’s readership questioned the structure and polish of this mix, to which I say, the structure is unconventional but thrilling and to hell with the polish. This is the kind of humble ingenuity I want to hear more of from a producer or a DJ. This mix is making my end of winter. I don’t have the wherewithal to attempt a proper review of a “mere” mix the way Clay admirably did back in ’05 with Controller 7’s Bumps but if I did this thing would get, like, an 84%.
Supposedly Pinch has a new record coming out soon plus collaborations with Shackleton, the most respected man in dubstep at the moment aside from maybe Burial, and Scientist, a musical pioneer of the highest caliber and one who I’d like to call the Bach of dub or something to that effect. The world can’t be excited enough for what Pinch has got cookin’. In the meantime pinch this podcast from Resident Advisor and prepare to have a few of your preconceptions about genre and the extent of what a mix can or should do be challenged in the most delightful way.