Tectonic label supremo and Dubstep legend Pinch has never really hit the sweet spot for me, i always found his music just a bit too earnest and lacking any real bite or interest. Recently, Pinch has gone all midlife-crisis, well so you might think. In 2010, he recorded `Croydon House', yes a house record. He then records yet another single on the Swamp81 label, called `Retribution'. Working on similar 130bpm territory, `Retribution' was an even better, moodier, nastier beast. Pinch's DJ sets even started to incorporate house music, by 2011 everyone was at it. Pinch topped off 2011 with a collaboration with the mighty Shackleton. Suddenly, Pinch has got interesting.
And now in 2012, Pinch releases a mix on the ever so good Fabriclive label. The mix floors you immediately with Distals `Venom', which not only starts the mix but completes the loop by ending it. Pinch's track selection from the ever-multiplying spectrum of bass music is mostly spot-on, from legendary producers such as Photek to white-hot bassheads such as OM Unit, Boddika, Joy Orbison, Illum Sphere and stacks more. The only oddity for me was Roly Porters "Hessra', a powerful track in its own right from a brilliant debut album, but it just didn't sit comfortably in the middle of the mix.
What's really surprising is the bewildering momentum Pinch maintains, not easy with such an array of rhythms and pulses from a diverse pool of talent. Even more impressive is how Pinch maintains his signature dubstep aesthetic in amongst the house and halfstep terrain, the music is often dark and brittle, ominous and unrelenting. But don't be scared off, Pinch manages to combine his own urban dreadscapes within a rich and vibrant mix of unstoppable beats. Pinch has created an absolute banger, his best mix yet and another corker by the fabriclive label. And there's me thinking 2012 was going to start quietly.