New influences bleed in all over the place. Take a track like "Asteroid Belts" by Andy Mac, which is essentially pure house music with a dollop of extra bass for good measure. It's fun but far less indicative of a particular place and time than something like Pinch's "Qawwali" or Peverelist's "The Grind." That's not an issue in itself, of course, but it does say something about the way things have mutated and cross-bred.
It is possible to trace the strains though. Zhou and Kahn further the path taken by the likes of Pinch and Appleblim, each contributing dark, skeletal rollers with acres of space between the notes, as well as a more a colourful blast in the form of the latter's "Helter Skelter." The most explicit link between both compilations, Kowton's remix of "Roll With The Punches," falls a little flat, perhaps only because of how exciting Pev & Kowton's collaborations have been over the past couple of years. The first three notes of the original's lead melody are looped eternally, while typically brusque drums swing away underneath without hitting a stride. It's always difficult putting a new spin on such a well loved tune, but Kowton's version feels reticent, polished with touches of both producers but lacking the spirit of either.
With straighter, smoother beats underpinning many of the tracks here, the rawness of Bass Clef and Ekoplekz's contributions appear as welcome bookends. For them, texture seems the greatest concern—whether for one minute or 12, both stand out from the rest of the compilation for this reason. Bass Clef in particular, both by himself and remixed by Pev, seems an antidote to the sometimes self-conscious genre-spotting that one can often fall prey to. "A Rail Is A Road And A Road Is A River" is a patient masterpiece taken from the Reeling Skullways album, a free-spirited journey that bubbles with ideas without settling on one in particular. At 12 minutes, it's not exactly a microcosm of anything, but it does feel somewhat like a realisation of that From The Edge statement: restless but confident, experimental but warm and welcoming.
As a start-to-finish listen, Worth The Weight Vol. 2 lacks a common thread beyond Pev's catholic taste and Bristol itself. It feels less like a collective statement than a snapshot of what a particular group of artists have been up to while dubstep disintegrated around them. So where Worth The Weight was an exhaustive overview of an alternate centre of dubstep gravity, Vol. 2 lacks that immediate pivot. If there is no centre, we're all on the edge.
Tue / 16 Sep 2014
01. Hodge - Resolve
02. Tessela - Channel
03. Kahn - Helter Skelter
04. Andy Mac - Asteroid Belts
05. Peverelist - Roll With The Punches (Kowton Linear Mix)
06. Zhou - I Remain
07. Kahn - Tehran
08. Zhou - Locust Dub
09. Bass Clef - Stenaline Metranil Solar Flare (Peverelist Remix)
10. Ekoplekz - On Vanishing Land (Intro)
11. Pev & Hodge - Bells (Dream Sequence)
12. Bass Clef - A Rail Is A Road And A Road Is A River