Sherwood & Pinch - Man Vs. Sofa

by Rob Taylor Rating:9 Release Date:2017-02-24

One of Bristol’s dubstep founders, Rob Ellis aka Pinch has teamed up with stalwart of the dub-mixing scene, Adrian Sherwood for an album of studio invention, Man Vs Sofa.  

Grime, dancehall, techno, raga and beyond, Man Vs Sofa never settles into any niche for its duration, throwing up a few surprises, like a perversely warped ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’ which alters and distorts the keyboard framework, shuffling between meditative ambience and twitchy bass-driven grime. The insertion of some incongruous guitar freak-outs and randomised sound affects just reinforces the perception that Sherwood, for all the structure he builds into his mixes, is capable of lapsing into chaos and musical entropy. Or rather wilfully steering the mix that way.

The rolling drums and sporadic offbeat cymbal crashes of opener ‘Roll Call’ make for a jittery soundscape, switching patterns all the time. A dark and stimulating entry. ‘Itchy Face’ ramps up the uneasiness with an amphetamine-charged kick-drum pattern.  The track inexorably leads to exhaustion notwithstanding some forlorn keyboard, attempting to stabilise proceedings. ‘Midnight Mindset’ will make your bass speaker bleed, dark techno with a tempered pulse. ‘Lies’ includes the first vocal segment, a little bit dancehall, a bit jazzy and because it’s Sherwood, a little bit twisted and disobedient. The lugubrious Pinch makes sure there’s little in the way of primary colours on these tracks. 

Title track ‘Man Vs Sofa’ is industrial techno, and illustrates perfectly the kind of cluster-fuck that these two guys produce in collaboration. It’s a bass-driven electronic call and response number in which the two producers go head to head in cacophony. A dual which is subsequently taken up on ‘Juggling Act’, which as the titles suggests is a delicate balance of its musical components, warped frequencies, violent bass, and an interesting and pervasive melody, which if I’m not wrong is a misshapen referencing of Pink’s ‘Get The Party Started’. So more off-kilter humour from the lads.

The dark synth lines, crashing percussion and cavernous vocals of the futuristic ragga track ‘Gun Law’ move inexorably to an urgent and decisive ending. An exciting collaboration.

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