Various – ‘Fabriclive 61: Pinch’ (Fabric Records)

“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.”

So says Bristol bassbin botherer Pinch (aka Rob Ellis) ahead of his mix for FabricLive – and although half-inched from the club’s blurb, it’s a neat summary of a sterling session, which cranks hard and swings heavy with melody, mood and of course lashings upon lashings of bass.

The 61st instalment in the FabricLive series is something of a master class in all three of the above, which comes as no surprise from a man who can only be viewed as a heavyweight when it comes to dancefloor electronics. The importance of his fingerprints in moulding the fractured contours of current sonic landscapes should not be underestimated. He’s been a big player ever since setting up his Tectonic label and forgoing rinsing pure d’n’b for a wider bag of noises plucked from every corner of the underground, whether that be grime, minimal tech, ghetto bass or anything else in between. Plus Pinch’s superb recent collaboration with Shackleton has ensured his name is very much in the frame. If nothing else, this Fabric set should succeed in doing much more in spreading the word.

So where does the sound of Fabric lie at the start of 2012, as decreed by Pinch? As you may expect from a man best known for smashing genres rather than their segregation, the emphasis here is on dancefloor rhythm and fire and not an exploration of one particular sound. While many electronic producers are now gargling from a larger cup of influence, Pinch has been exploiting his love for a big, bad and ’eavy aural palette for time.

The 20-plus tracks on the mix are all glued together by a relentless backbone of groove and space with some seriously tough ruffage thrown in. The highlights, and numerous mood swings, are many, rapid-fire and tight as you like. The by now anthemic ‘Swims’ by Boddika and Joy Orbison ripples with acid techno squiggles while Addison Groove’s ‘This Is It VIP’ jitters likes a computer foaming, on the brink of a breakdown. Henry & Louis feat. Prince Green is the biggest nod to soundsystem business with Green toasting laconically all over an errant wobble. Roska offers up the spinning ‘480 BC’ while Distance’s ‘Blue Meanie’ resembles the end of the world but with plenty of low end and lurging funk. Many of the larger moments are remixes by the big man himself. If Photek & Pinch’s ‘Acid Reign’ was an ale, the moniker of ‘Doom Bar’ would be suitable for the monolithic footprints it leaves all over your ears. It’s indicative of a head nodding, rig-shaking work out.

Pinch’s contribution to the FabricLive series sets the bar impossibly high for other players stepping forward to the plate over the next 12 months. If you’re one of the intended, then you shouldn’t give this a listen. It’ll either put you right off or send you scurrying back to your lair to relearn your craft.

Jim Ottewill

‘Fabriclive 61: Pinch’ will be released via Fabric Records on January 16.