Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pinch - Underwater Dancehall

There is certainly something to be said for minimalism in music; the art of making the most out of the least amount of elements is not as easy a task as it may seem. Each sound has to be robust complimentary and compelling enough to maintain interest. Pinch is obviously a master artist in this sense.

Even though this record can technically be classed dancehall due to the vocalists featured, it’s really dub(step), as it lacks the frenetic energy usually associated with dancehalls. The vocalists featured feel not so much sapped of their vitality as aquatically suspended in animation. Thus the evocative title proves apropos. Pinch’s unique sound may be due to context; residing in Bristol, rather than London. Regardless he certainly has has a knack for mood and contrast; disembodying dancehall toasters Rudy Lee, Yolanda, Indi Kaur and Jaukali over ten tracks of fluid soundscape. He does this with heaping amounts of delay which reverberate in a dubbed out malaise of tribal percussion and turgid, rumbling bass lines. The minimal steppy, drum programming and tasteful, less-is-more approach to melody belie the amount of groove and depth that Pinch conjures.

Brighter Day, for instance, begins with a deceptively simple drum loop and builds with shimmering synth chimes and plenty of gurgling low end. This achieves a desired effect of polishing the roughneck vocals provided by Jaukali. One Blood, One Source features Rudy Lee sing a downright catchy hook over a bubbling watery melody and a wall of LFO modulated sub-bass.

The production here is so strong, that Under Water Dancehall has been packaged as a double CD; with and without vocals.

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