Various Artists

Tectonic Plates, Vol. 2

by Dominic Umile

20 August 2009

cover art

Various Artists

Tectonic Plates, Vol. 2

(Tectonic Recordings)
US: 15 Jun 2009
UK: 25 May 2009

DJ/producer Pinch is a widely known celebrant of bass music and a pioneer of Bristol, UK’s dubstep sound. His Tectonic imprint is a giant, having issued trailblazing genre classics from Loefah, Skream, Cyrus, and more. Listeners can trace at least a couple of recent landmark full-lengths—a dubstep rarity—directly back to the Tectonic catalog in Pinch’s own Underwater Dancehall in late 2007, and in 2562’s Aerial, a premier techno/dubstep mutation. Backed with a 27-track mix CD, the second volume of Tectonic Plates isn’t without such masterful executions.

Tectonic Plates, Vol. 2‘s collection of previously issued releases spotlights techno’s considerable interplay within dubstep, from Martyn’s “Yet” to “Technocal”, a somewhat mundane arrangement from South London old hand Benga (when compared to his forward-looking Diary of an Afro Warrior album). The flip side of the original “Technocal” 12” is a winning endeavor, though—Skream’s “Trapped in a Dark Bubble”, which is third in the tracklist and likely somewhere on your hard drive if you’re inclined to download his sets, is an ‘09 stunner with string stabs, gurgling bass, and hand drums powering its shadowy beauty.

“Forward Youth” comes from RSD, born Rob Smith, who’s showing a lot of promise for a newcomer to dubstep production, and contributes one of Vol. 2‘s strongest entries, tacking on a striking breaks arrangement and ghostly vocal snippets. Hardly new to electronic music, though, RSD is better known to Pinch as a predecessor—as one-half of legends Smith & Mighty, he spent his nights celebrating and pioneering Bristol bass music years before any of this was happening. Alongside this batch of innovative talents in Joker, Martyn, and more, RSD fits in very well.

Tectonic Plates, Vol. 2



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