London-based producer Silkie, staple of the Deep Medi label and leader of the Anti-Social Entertainment crew is by my estimation one of the finest dubstep DJs going. At least of the dubstep DJs that still play actual dubstep. He's got a quicksilver mixing flair and a skill for ambitious blends that makes his sets feel as if they're recklessly darting between tempos and styles, an ability well-documented on his recent FACT mix and by any number of corroborating accounts. Part of the reason that his sets are so great is that he knows his tunes inside and out: They're frequently heavy on his own productions, powerfully physical dubstep tunes dressed up in lush synthesizers and all manner of jazz and funk samples, from squiggly keyboards to smooth horns and everything in between.
City Limits Vol. 2 has plenty of that, even if there's arguably nothing on the album as laid-back or jazzy as a track like the first's "Concrete Jungle." Instead, it's simply one of the most diverse albums to be released at almost completely 140 beats per minute in a long time, showcasing some flashy new moves in the Silkie repertoire. "New York" drapes the conventional bass drop in a surge of G-funk synths and vocoder vocals while "Selva Nova" juggles amen breaks in slowed-down dubstep stasis and "Boogie Boy" hobbles along at a staggered 120 beats per minute.
There are of course more familiarly Silkie turns on the album as well, with tracks like "Rock Da Funk" bringing, well, da funk to typically high standards, even if at this point it's expected rather than paradigm-shifting. The album's most intriguing moments come from some rare collaborations, further morsels of variety that put a much needed spike in the album's otherwise rather viscous and samey sequencing. The opener "Feel" sees Rose working with New Zealand group Truth for a classy rolling rhythm replete with uncharacteristic reggae sample that unfolds in perfect time over the beat, while the untitled collaboration with Skream is four minutes of noisy clattering, the most focused and powerful thing to come out of Skream in ages and an excellent mid-album pivot point.
Unfortunately, City Limits Volume 2, despite any number of great moments and excellent production throughout, suffers from the same problem as its predecessor: it's too damn long. Maxing out the allotted space on a CD, most tracks go on for six or seven minutes, which doesn't make for friendly full-length listening when each one is a standalone dubstep dance floor tune. In keeping with the idea, another reason why the Skream "Untitled" track is so successful is because of its bite-sized length. It's a shame, because in addition to being one of dubstep's best DJs, Silkie is also one of its most distinctive producers. However, if he keeps making albums like this it seems like the best place to experience his wonderful work is still the dance floor.
Buy Silkie - City Limits Volume 2 at
Tracklist: Silkie - City Limits Volume 2 01. Feel feat. Truth
02. Snowed In feat. Von D
03. Get Up N Dance
04. Rock Da Funk
06. New York City
07. Untitled feat. Skream
08. Selva Nova
09. Taxi Mi Get
10. Boogie Boy
11. Only For You
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