Both are signings to Mala's Deep Medi label, perhaps the last reliable dubstep outpost standing. The mix is thus heavy on productions from their crew, specifically the duo's own plus spiritual brother Swindle, whose horn-happy "Do the Jazz" is one of the year's greatest dubstep singles and has a prominent spot on this mix. The dynamic is largely Silkie's swing-heavy, garage-influenced breakbeats versus Quest's varying skanks, chugs and lurches, punctuated by Swindle's tinny, grime-fueled bombast. Quest is nowhere near as prolific as Silkie (who himself is two artist albums in), but he has a penchant for wandering outside dubstep borders into more downtempo territory, meaning there's an interplay of traditional vs. experimental keeping things interesting but all very "dubstep."
Like a lot of dubstep mixes, Dubstep Allstars Vol. 9 is mixed hard and fast, sometimes to its detriment. There aren't a lot of tools or bridge tracks here, and each song feels like it was designed to be a centrepiece; mixing together what feels like 24 A-sides gets a little wearying after a while. Secondly, when you're dealing with tracks full of pianos and noodling synths, you're bound to get key clashes—and while the duo do a remarkable job of avoiding too much awful clanging, some of the transitions can't help but feel a little sloppy or rushed. The pacing is also strange, with things ebbing and flowing at a rate more rapid than even the most extreme of dubstep mixes. Even as the CD bounds along ecstatically, there's a distinct lack of progression.
Like the "too many melodies" issue, it's more of a good problem to have than a bad one. But it further highlights that Dubstep Allstars Vol. 9 is a production showcase rather than a mix. Silkie and Quest are two of the genre's most consistent beatmakers, but compared to previous Allstars mixes from Kode9, Youngsta, Appleblim and N-Type, Vol. 9 is fun rather than galvanizing. Nonetheless, if these are our dubstep "allstars" these days, then the genre isn't in such bad shape after all.