Looking back on the myriad of ways that the genre now known quite loosely as ‘bass music’ has mutated, one of the key figures in its evolution would have to be Bristol’s Rob Ellis, better known simply as Pinch. His fascination with what the outer limits of the dub sound can achieve has made him a distinct figure within the fluid group of like-minded dubstep musicians that defined the so-called Bristol sound.
In 2003, a Kode9 set became the stepping-stone that was his initial contact with dubstep at London’s seminal FWD>>. This inspired him to start the first pure dubstep night outside of FWD>>, Subloaded, in his hometown of Bristol. With the city’s love of dub and long musical lineage, plus Pinch’s dedication to the importance of the actual sound, it quickly formed a dedicated community and became a yardstick by which other nascent events were measured. This had all been driven by a key moment in his own musical evolution which as he explains, “I lost interest in D&B and started buying minimal Basic Channel style techno, garage, grime and electronica instead - trying to mix them up together,” pre-empting the dominant sound of 4/4 dub-techno embraced by today’s crop of young producers, like Hessle Audio, who regularly cite the Bristol sound as a big influence.
His FABRICLIVE offering comes hot on the heels of mixes from Pearson Sound and an artist with whom he’s just recently released a collaborative album on Honest Jon’s, Shackleton. These are all producers who work in a similar vein, that is, impeccable attention to sound detail, continual experimentation with rhythm whilst always maintaining a definitive ‘sound’ which can be traced throughout all their productions.
"I am a supporter of the sound of vinyl and the cultural associations I make with this format so it was important to me - even if I do ultimately end up abandoning my beloved format one day - to stick by my guns and record the mix like this. I also made the whole mix start and finish in the same spot - meaning that the entire DJ mix can work as a loop if you put it on repeat. I really like the idea of certain kinds of music existing in its own infinite context and setting up the mix to loop like that was playing entirely into that idea." - Pinch