The first sound heard on the latest mix album in the Fabriclive series—a 22-track, cyclical assault of UK-centric club productions delivered by Bristol figurehead Pinch—is a perfectly rounded drop of sub frequencies taken from the middle of "Venom" by burgeoning American producer Distal. Nothing could better define the overall slant of this impeccably arranged, methodically conceived, and outrightly visceral mix album. Fabriclive 61 starts midway through "Venom" so that it can play on seamless repeat, as the whole thing ends with the tune's first half. It's a great idea, really, but what happens in between that clever trick is what's most important. Across his hour-plus mix, Pinch displays a wide and eclectic snapshot of so-called bass music circa now—bringing together seasoned pros like Roska and Shed's EQD project with newcomers such as OM Unit and F, all of who are some of the most exciting artists currently working within the continuum.
One of the best examples of Pinch's deft juggling between artists of varied experience and sonic inclinations on Fabriclive 61 is the run from "Swims" by Boddika & Joy Orbison to DJG's "Uncertain" to Roly Porter's "Hessra." Starting off with the practically mythical 2011 tune, he blends the garish, acid-tinged sounds crafted by two of the biggest artists from the past few years into a sparse and forward cut by a lesser-known—though obviously talented—producer. The punchy "Uncertain" is quickly followed by Roly Porter's slow meditation on dark string arrangements and subtly undulating bass, which ideally punctuates the previous onslaught of energetic dancefloor productions with a moment of lush reprieve. It could have made for a proper ending to any moody DJ set, but this is just the halfway mark for Pinch.
When his collaborative track with drum & bass veteran Photek builds to its unprecedentedly massive size, you get the impression that maybe "Acid Rain," the eleventh cut in the tracklist, was actually the initial starting point for Fabriclive 61 before Pinch chopped the thing in half and folded it inside out. But the DJ built his mix in such a way that you could never know for sure just from listening; the music continually jumps between dubstep, house, techno, and beyond, almost never losing its propulsive motion. That kind of flow—matched with top-shelf tunes from around the globe—helps make Pinch's installment for Fabric's ongoing series an outstanding and even-handed display of contemporary soundsystem music that won't likely grow stale any time soon.