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Accelerated Culture: Pinch Interviewed

It’s three thirty on a sunny Wednesday afternoon and I’m doing, well… nothing really. In the midst of the lockdown many of us are finding out that having too much time can be just as bad as too little. We can find ourselves craving human interaction, so much so that an unsuspecting Deliveroo driver can suddenly…

Accelerated Culture: Pinch Interviewed

It’s 3 thirty on a bright Wednesday afternoon and I’m doing, well … absolutely nothing really.

In the midst of the lockdown much of us are learning that having too much time can be simply as bad as too little. We can discover ourselves yearning human interaction, a lot so that an unwary Deliveroo motorist can unexpectedly discover themselves– like a naïve, curious fish bewitched by an Angler’s bulb – knee deep in an un-escapable twenty minute conversation.

Envision my delight when I understand I’ll be consulting with stereo musical innovator Pinch today.

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Pinch, real name Rob Ellis, has had his finger on the pulse of most of the UK’s electronic music innovations, from speculative techno hybrids with Mumdance to the christening of one of the country’s most inventive movements– dubstep. His label– Tectonic Recordings– has acted as a special space for sound system culture, joining established names and those breaking through under an umbrella of pioneering noises and big wubs.

But before we get into all that, there’s really just one location to begin.

” I have actually felt hectic,” he tells me. “Although if it was this time four months back, I most likely would not feel very hectic at all. Time is moving very in a different way now. I have actually dealt with the pandemic in a sense of oscillating states that vary from ‘I’m very grateful that I’m okay when there are lots of people out there who are not’, to ‘whatever is fucked and I’m ill of it’ (laughs).”

” That basic oscillation has actually been slowing down a little bit as time has gone on. In terms of how it’s affected the label and things– well, the bulk of my income comes from the gig side of the organisation and it’ll be no surprise to anyone that has actually currently dried up, and most likely for much longer than we envision.

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Bandcamp’s recent commission complimentary days have actually become something of an event, something to anticipate, and a sense of neighborhood is generated because of it. Pinch tells me of a special moment when putting a choice of ’15 Years of Tectonic’ t-shirts up for sale.

” Taking a moment to take a look at a few of the names on the back of the tee from for many years was rather a touching sentiment,” he states. “This is probably the only area where you would discover the likes of Digital Mystikz, Loefah and Skream together with Mumdance, Shed, Photek, Researcher and even Flying Lotus. I think that sense of being responsible in some method for bringing those people together in one area is a great sensation of achievement.”

Rewinding from the present day to 2004, I’m keen to hear of the intro of dubstep to Bristol.

Pearson Sound has explained the night as “an incubator of originalities”, a blank slate. When Pinch took a trip to London to go to, it was the first time he experienced the music. The sound then was meditative, highly percussive, cinematic and very little. He was connected.

On his go back to Bristol, Pinch began Bristol’s very first dubstep based night, and the first dubstep event to be based outside of London– Context. What was the Bristol community’s reaction to this alien sound?

” It was microscopic scene smart,” he tells me, “and nearly non-existent in Bristol. At that time there was probably less than a lots dubstep records available– you could not even do an hour long set of the things without cutting calls or playing grime and other related noises.”

” It was a really little and sluggish start. I did events for the best part of nine months or something before any sort of numbers were coming through the door– it was all done on a small. For me it was a really special time. It showed the start opening chapters of what became a really amazing electronic music motion and far exceeded any expectations I might have ever attached to it at the time.”

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Pinch remembers one night in particular, when a younger Mala travelled as much as Bristol to examine it out.

” There was one night we had Loefah and Cyrus playing and that was a relatively critical, notable occasion. Mala in fact increased from London to check it out, in a sense of ‘fucking hell, there’s something else happening that isn’t FWD >>.”

” Having that initial interest was excellent. That was truly the very first turning point event that the Bristol dubstep neighborhood sort of formed around.

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Yo-yoing our method through time and space, we discover ourselves fast forwarding the contemporary once more. Although Pinch is certainly among dubstep’s finest innovators, he has actually found himself looking beyond it through the last decade. It is a natural for a pioneer to experiment, and experiment Pinch has actually done, producing a wide variety of noise from cinematic UK techno to left-field leaning, otherworldly sequences.

He explains his present relationship with dubstep as” a bit like falling out with your sibling, you get too near each other and become irritable.”

” I’m looking past dubstep, and have actually been for a little while, however it’s still for me the most fundamental, closely associated and most engaged element of electronic dance music that I’ve dealt with. I have actually made really little 140 dubstep in the last ten years. I have actually found myself making stuff around that techno-y pace – 128,130 I think people group things typically by tempo and category, however I think mood is a better way of bringing stuff together. I’ve always been in roomy, transcendent mood spaces when it concerns music and I think part of the experience of getting into that head state is to be surprised by something. It’s a little bit of an oxymoron, you need to have things that you can’t expect to amaze you in order to step beyond your normal every day, profane area. That’s the accomplishment that I try to find in sound-system music.”

Relating to the existing dubstep landscape, Pinch discovers little to be excited about. There is something about being involved from the start that will undoubtedly dilute the modern-day experience.

” Now, it feels like we’re making well produced variations of what we already comprehend. That’s always been my bug barer around it. The important things that drew me to dubstep was that it was an open-ended scene, it was rooted in a context that made good sense to me from a lineage of dub and jungle and techno. Dubstep brought components of those things together in such a way that had actually never been done before.”

” There are all sorts of people making it well, but it doesn’t truly thrill me as much as it did sixteen years ago. There was no plan at that time. It was amazing because we didn’t understand where it was going, and we felt like it could go anywhere.”

Those that have actually been following Pinch’s work carefully will see this trend of expedition.

” I read the book a few years back,” he tells me. “Truth tunnel is basically an idea about how truth (or, at least, the understanding of our environments) is experienced in a different way by each people, based on the filters of understanding we develop throughout our lives. How and where we position our attention/consciousness is constantly relative to what we are aiming to take from (or, to comprehend about) our environment – and our resulting capability to then browse it. There will always be more info in the environment than we can process, so discovering in life is typically about learning to disregard certain aspects in our environment in order to be able to focus much better on others. This, in a nutshell, is what reality tunnels refer to – the outcome of focusing and de-focusing of numerous elements of our environment.”

” In recent years it seems to me that individuals are generally ending up being less compassionate and more impatient of others whose viewpoints diverge from our own.

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The record opens with ‘Back To Beyond’– a piece that was built following what Pinch describes as “a making complex experience with infinity.”

” I had this very intense experience,” he states, “which I don’t want to elaborate on excessive, however basically it seemed like being stuck in one moment, permanently … Like being caught in an area that exists in between the quantum tick-tock motions of time.”

” The next day I made an early variation of ‘Back To Beyond’, which was a psychological reaction to that experience. When I listened back to it, that’s when I understood I had an album coming – it felt like I had something to state.”

Reverting back to the subjecting of looking beyond category, I’m eager to learn if the artist feels his most current body of noises and listening experiences signify his own sonic journey through jungle, ambient, dubstep and techno. When listening back, does he feel he remained in some way channeling those periods, or was he completely looking forward into the worlds of the unidentified, simply waiting to see what came out?

” I think we remain in a sort of post-genre stage in electronic/dance music at the moment,” he states. “With the LP tracks, I chose I didn’t want to give myself any rules. As such, I have actually done things on tracks that I have actually banned myself from carrying out in the past– like using an amen break. I do not truly care about that kind of thing anymore I expect. I’m just attempting to be truthful with myself and make whatever I feel like making, without stressing over where or what it must suit, or anything like that. It’s simply a taste of my own reality tunnel, actually.”

” There’s one dubstep track on there, just to reveal I can still do it (laughs).

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‘ Reality Tunnels’ will be launched on June 26 th – order HERE.

Words: Andrew Moore

Image Credit: Alex Digard

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