With the Continuum blown to bits and its players stranded squarely in post whatever-man's land, amidst the etymological muck-slinging and accruement of discredited and discrediting prefixes, sidestepping the whole genre-bomb entirely with Pinch & Shackleton would seem like the only suitable approach. Dubstep—like its preceding bass strains—aches today with negative connotation and is fast becoming another of those "dirty" words. Not that Sam Shackleton has ever made dubstep, mind you, despite being as intrinsically linked to the scene as his latest production partner Pinch.
When I was first exploring bass music, Pinch and Shackleton were gateway artists. Both masters erecting sickly, muted environments, their dub(step) was arty and sprawling enough-- both made use of Middle Eastern samples-- to lure an American rock-kid into England's dance culture. The two artists have been quiet lately: Pinch retreated into dance-oriented 12"s in addition to curating his Tectonic imprint, while Shackleton moved to Berlin and released some minimal techno for a minimal-techno label (an excellent one).
Look no further than Rob Ellis, aka Pinch, and Sam Shackleton to provide a welcome antidote to the growing glut of glimmering, sexless bass music currently munching up the underground. Since dubstep's particle-accelerated velocity started to slow around eighteen months ago, various different aspects of the sound have fractured off into their own different niches, and it's been harder to find the sense of unified forward development that bound everything together until early 2010. Instead several different factions have emerged.