Opportunities like this are to be relished. Pinch & Shackleton is a collaboration between two of traditional dubstep’s most illustrious names, an album that weaves together their shared love of unsettling, exotic darkness with an uncompromising cohesion. Every moment is unmissable, but tracks like Jellybones and Selfish Greedy Life are so unreservedly vital that they truly set a new benchmark in the genre. It’s not often you can say that.
UK dubstep artists have undergone a sort of diaspora in recent years. Some of them chose to enter the nebulous realm of UK bass, others playfully explored their garage roots while still others abandoned dubstep altogether and pursued techno and God knows what else. One of the many remarkably things about both Pinch (pictured) and Shackleton is that neither budged an inch. They were of the opinion that dubstep was far from the finished article, that there were still stones left unturned and techniques left untried. Rooms Within A Room showcases this virtuosity; it opens with a deep pad sequence before those tribal toms kick in, punctuated by rough gasps for air and cascading white noise. Then comes the pattering of cymbals lashing themselves to unflinching, immovable sub-bass for support. Breathtaking stuff.
What Pinch & Shackleton shows is that despite dubstep coming to mean many different things to many different people, this particular breed of sparse, complex dance music is still alive and well. With so many artists trying their hardest to blur the lines, it was always going to take something special to redefine them. This fluid, desolate debut does just that.