Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pinch - Underwater Dancehall

Released on the same day as Burial's monumental latest record, "Underwater Dancehall" by dubstep producer and DJ Rob Ellis (aka Pinch) runs the risk of being overshadowed by "Untrue", something which would be quite unfair. Being one of the most respected figures inside the dubstep community, his first full-length record is an ambitious conceptual double-album with a curious approach: the first part consists mostly of tracks with added guest vocalists, while the second half has the exact same tracks with the exact same order but excluding the voices. Funnily enough, this simple fact makes a huge difference in the final ambience, with the vocal-versions being much more open, thanks in part to the contributions of jamaican toasters and r&b vocalists. On the other hand, the instrumental half feels much darker and mechanical, living in special place of its own, a languid world almost closed to the outside. Either way, as a whole it's easy to identify Pinch's trademark technics as a producer, with a sparse collection of sounds used to obtain a narcotic atmoshere with maximum effects inside our brain. In fact, with an almost clinical precision, "Underwater Dancehall" is run by a self-restrained approach guaranteed to awe anyone that immerses in its sounds and analyses them. Using subterranean layered beats, a profound bass and a few haunted samples, each track then has an individual identity, with and without vocals, building an immense pallette of soundscapes and emotions. (8/10)

MySpace page (Tectonic Recordings)

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