Saturday, 8 August 2009

Silkie – City Limits Volume 1 [Deep Medi]

Silkie has been producing since he was about 15 making grime and garage infused beats he was also about during dubstep’s rise on the London underground, places like FWD>> inspired him to make it himself and really get stuck in. Now as part of the Anti-social Entertainment crew’s extended family with the likes of Quest, Harry Craze and Henny G amongst others he has carved out a sound all of his own and got picked up by Mala’s essential Deep Medi label where an album was on the cards right away and after some quality, sort after 12”s from the man his debut full length City Limits Volume 1 is finally with us.

‘Concrete Jungle’ opens proceedings with field recordings of the city, horns, cars and a distant crackle this sets the scene for the huge purple bass tones and plastic horns. Silkie knows his way around a groove and every track on here has one, as a trained pianist he knows how to get a jazz infused soul vibe going too. He has an almost trade mark way of using keys and pads that echo the past not unlike the high tech soul of Detroit’s Underground Resistance.

The rhythms fit in somewhere between dubstep’s half-step moodiness and the skipping rolling funk of garage without really sounding like either of the two, Silkie makes his own broken soul variant that really takes these tracks forward. It goes without saying for a Deep Medi release that the bass is pretty damn huge and one of the main elements of each track. He has a deep distinctive warm sound that he twists and warps into some serious grooves.

There are plenty of highlights as the album flows so well but here are some of mine… The smooth electro beats and space age synth lines of ‘Sty’ that drop into some serious boogie bass and a dancehall chug-a-chug sample gets me into a blessed out bass bounce every time. The jungle-esq cut’n’paste breaks on ‘Quasar’ is a good touch and its no surprise to see L.D credited for extra arrangements here it has that rhythmic bump to it. The Mizz Beats collaboration ‘Purple Love’ takes twisted lazzer guided bass lines and synth arpeggios and creates a warm neon glow around a floorless and hypnotic track.

‘Planet X’ drops into one of the most addictive bass lines around along with heaps of soul and some quality skippy percussion in the top end. The industrial crunch and noisy dub pad of ‘Head Butt Da Deck’ really mashes up dance floors and that purple G-Funk infused Dr. Dre-like synth that plays over the piano breakdown really makes it special.

The final two tracks really make City Limits; ‘The Horizon’ is an absolute anthem the piano intro gives way to some almighty euphoric funk squiggles and spacey loved up, blissed out vibes this is only enhanced by the closing number ‘Beauty’, which has that end of night feel to it like you’ve been dancing for hours but have it in you for one last track there is a loved up sadness to it that the end of a big session brings.

With City Limits Silkie has made an essential dubstep album that really showcases his deep and soulful sound, he doesn’t deviate from what he does so well it’s a singular vision and all the better for it. There is a perfect balance of light and dark in Silkie’s work you get the rough and ready dance floor energy along side smooth grooves. He keeps the original dubstep vibes of space and bass then updates it with his own unique formula for today’s dance floors.

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