Adrian Sherwood and Pinch are no strangers to sound system culture. With a combined experience of over 50 years in the game, these two are titans of low end sonics. The duo were brought together through a shared love of deep tones, developing a combined sound over a number of years that takes influence from both the On-U and Tectonic imprints that they represent.
'Man vs. Sofa' is the latest instalment in this bass driven love affair. The name itself is enough to raise some eyebrows, “it’s about the fight against lethargy. It’s a metaphoric ‘Get up’,” Sherwood explains. Pinch adds: “it relates to an idea about mankind slowly defeating itself by the pursuit of comfort and resulting laziness.”
Certainly this record has the tools to pull you up from your sofa, with regular switches in energy from their more recognisable dub sounds to all out club thumpers. Some of the more club orientated sounds are new realms for the pair as a duo, yet they see it as a natural progression. “We just wanted to make something that challenged us and obviously we both trust each other’s taste and sensibility. Having worked together for a while now, at this point we have reached a kind of unified sound, whereas with the first album we were just feeling out each other’s way of working”, Adrian notes.
Pinch picks up the point, continuing: “We both have wide tastes in music but I suppose the element of performing together has developed a better understanding for what tracks and kind of tracks work better live.”
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The record floats beautifully through genre-less space, with a focus on the emotion of the soundscapes created rather than a need for definitive genre. Perhaps the only distinctive feature between each track is the speaker rattling bass tones. “I think the juxtapositions of the different energies from track to track works well for me. It gives the album more of an adventurous journey feel”, says Pinch.
“The main aim of the LP was to make something we both enjoy listening to and that hopefully steps outside of any current fashions in electronic music in the hope of achieving an album we will both still feel proud of in 10 or 20 years’ time,” he continues.
In this sense, their aim has been achieved. This unique album morphs and blends through a range of sensations, truly capturing the live musicianship that the two seek to push in their records. “There’s always live elements to the tracks, capturing various live performances from studio musicians, from live dubbing and FX processing”, Pinch explains. “We do an analogue mix live as if in a live show. Similarly, in a live setting we basically build an analogue recording studio on stage”, Adrian adds.
This live aspect of their recordings has been one of the key factors to their success in the studio. On their recording process, Pinch explains: “Often I’ll start an idea at my home studio, break it up into parts and take it to Adrian’s. There we develop the idea further, bring in musicians, vocalists and collage parts, process, re-process them - basically keep playing around with it all until we feel its arranged and set up to do a final mix. Adrian then will put final touches and FX in a live final mix and usually run several passes before we find the one. Other times we just start messing around with some loops or sounds in the studio and build something up from there.” T
his attention to detail typifies the two craftsmen. ‘Man vs. Sofa’ is a product of this work ethic combined with their wealth of musical interests and experiences. As Pinch explains, “the truth is that the album is a culmination of all sorts of current interests, pooled together and blurring into each other.”
This melting pot of experimental sound is the product of two minds who have never felt the need to define themselves. As Adrian concludes: “we have just made a record to satisfy ourselves.”
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Words: Angus McKeon
‘Man vs. Sofa’ is out now - make sure to get down to their launch party on March 11th at Brixton Jamm featuring the likes of Hodge, Kenny Ken and more.