Rating: 8 / Format: CD/LP / Label: Deep Medi

The scattered 12"s and DJ sets we’ve heard from Silkie, part of dubstep’s Anti-Social Crew, always had the potential to precede an awesome full-length showcase of his vision. With City Limits Vol 1, the West Londoner mostly achieves this.

Silkie does things deep: City Limits is a busy, but never cluttered album, which stays true to dubstep’s traditional half-step structure while flirting with signatures of other genres: ‘Quasar’s peppered breaks, techy atmospherics and bassline could have been lifted from an ambient jungle tune, while Purple Love’s naked P-Funk intro leads into the sort of soulful space ballad that Dam Funk (and granted, Joker) would be proud of. Meanwhile ‘Turvy”s immense bass drop and sparse snyths and the aptly titled ‘Head Butt Da Duck”s deep sub-bass are throwbacks to dubstep conventions that still sound fresh amidst the rest of the originality on offer across the album. The track that always gets me though is ‘Horizon’: with its elastic bassline, jazzy piano melodies and squiggly synthlines, it’s genuinely unlike anything I’ve heard before.

Not many dubstep full lengths have justified the hype their preceding 12"s have garnered them, but Silkie’s brims with progression, and feels like he’s written a lot of the tunes for the album as opposed to just dusting off B-Sides for something that feels more like a compilation (finger pointed firmly at you, Skream and Benga). Maybe I’m just naïve, but whichever’s the case, Silkie’s seduced the shit out of me. City Limits is overlong (does ‘Planet Ex’ really need to be seven minutes?), and it’s got a title reminiscent of far too many half-arsed grime mixtapes – that probably warrants at last a one-point deduction. But those criticisms aside, it’s a great record: one that if someone – in some attempt to encapsulate a particular era of bass music – stuck it in a time capsule and buried it for future generations to find, would probably still sound as accomplished years down the line.

Chris McShee

Silkie myspace



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