Whenever a dubstep compilation comes out of the scene that is in any way associated with the label GetDarker, I sit up and take notice. Though the label on this release is actually Tempa, a quick glance at their roster of releases shows a lot of crossover with the DJs who routinely show up on GetDarkerTV’s weekly live dubstep podcast. That for me is indicative of roots quality. If ever there was a scene where the producers were true to their craft and seem isolated entirely from the peer pressure of pop music, it’s this bunch of youngsters found bobbing away before the fish-eye lens on YouTube.
The trouble with this record is that it doesn’t show the same patience as the live mixes—perhaps because of media constraints. The Dubstep Allstars series is typically a wide-ranging mix of material from label-mates and producers. On this, the ninth installment, Silkie & Quest focus primarily on their own material throwing in a few others for appearances. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as the album still bounces around the sub-genre spectrum with abandon. From the opening ghetto-flavoured “If I was a Superhero” and “Lucky” we move straight into more traditional reggae-dub with Quest’s “The Seafront”. From out of nowhere Swindle’s “Belfast” throws down a little drumstep business and then there’s a dubious mix into the more house-influenced “Get Up & Dance”, the transition of which is a bit of a train wreck. It’s a fast one though. At an average of 2 minutes per song, this album moves quickly trying to fit everything in.
No territory is left unexplored here and what is lost in fast transitions is gained in fitting 24 tracks on a single record. Even Skream makes a notable appearance with Silkie’s remix of his track “Filth” before things end on the sober and quiet after-party of Quest’s “Stand”. Note the quick tapping of a filtered hand-drum placed as a contrast against the deep bass shuffle and soulful samples—this is signature UK dubstep.
Though it’s a solid record overall, I have to say I hear better quality mixes on the weekly GetDarkerTV show; they sometimes last over two hours. That said, as a grab bag sampler of the sound with a little bit of everything delivered fast and twitchy, it’s worth your time.