Tectonic is a British electronic music label, founded and run by Rob Ellis (Pinch) which focuses primarily on Dubstep and its related genres. As one of the key founding dubstep labels, alongside Tempa, DMZ, Hyperdub, and Hotflush, Tectonic became a focal point for the Bristol scene, as well as introducing artists and releases that were among the first to bridge a gap between dubstep and techno.
To Pinch, the enigmatic qualities of dubstep are what allow the genre to avoid commercialization and make it so interesting. Its lack of rules keep it hard to label while its dependence on big sound systems keeps it off TV, allowing it to remain an escape from everyday life.
Tectonic is already a piece of history in itself. It is one of the first dubstep labels to come into existence, releasing it’s first record in 2005. Pinch, who has been a Bristol resident for over a decade now, initially caught the dubstep bug after an early visit to London. Soon after, he began a party called Subloaded at home, and helped Vex’d with their album. Tectonic would follow.
The majority of the initial Tectonic releases, like his first single with P. Dutty, Moving Ninja’s “Shellcode“, and Skream’s “Bahl Fwd” contained a distinct thread favoring eerie synths, sci fi dread and wobbles, as well as the frequent appearance of dubbed out bongos. But there were tracks here and there that deviated from the concept, like the South Asian instrumentation of Cyrus’s “Indian Stomp” and Distance’s “Temptation” – a foreshadowing of Pinch’s wariness towards becoming dogmatic. The label really began to find itself in 2007 with it’s first full length album dropping by Cyrus, and 2562‘s style of techy, percussive excursions making it’s debut, which helped set the groundwork for the label’s current identity.
2562 would prove foundational to Tectonic, releasing more music through it than any other artist beside Pinch himself. Eventually, after a couple years of steady singles, the Dutch producer saw his debut full length, Aerial, come out on Tectonic. Many of the main artists would hover in similar but distinct orbits. The techno influence is also evident in the work of Jack Sparrow, RSD and Jakes‘s newest single. Of course, the heavier, dubbier side of things – as handled by Pinch and a few others – is prevalent too. But another quality of the label that’s just as distinguished is its unpredictable interests, like for example the odd Joker jump off, with it’s ravey, hip hop leanings.
Alongside seminal releases from artists such as Skream, Benga, Digital Mystikz & Joker, Tectonic has also been responsible for some of the scenes most highly acclaimed albums - particularly, 2562's Unbalance and Pinch's Underwater Dancehall.