Monday, 11 May 2015

Adham Shaikh 'Basswalla' Review

Artist: Adham Shaikh

Title: Basswalla

Label: Black Swan 


Released: 26th May

When it comes to global bass Adham is not only a pioneer, but as the title implies he's a basswalla (in other words he's a master of his craft). Although this is his first mostly original material release in the last 5 years he has certainly honed his sound on his re-mixes throughout that period and once again completely satisfied high expectations with the content of this latest release.

The release begins with the title track 'Basswalla' and within 10 seconds of pressing play and for me the blend of eastern flutes and deep bass it's already a winner. The tracks that follow don't disappoint as Adham's 25 years experience of fusing world music with urban electronica blossom into full bloom. Whether it's the low bass, rump shaking Bhangra'esque hip-hop fusion of 'Cultivation' featuring the positive lyrics of Shamik, the haunting gypsy violin, rolling percussion and organ mash-up of the Elders Dance mix of 'Vibe Hunter' or the fusion of flamenco guitar with Armenian dudak (a double reed woodwind instrument not a million miles away from a clarinet) in 'Rumba Dub' it hits the spot.

The album closes with versions of previous tracks. Not wanting to simply re-mix again Adham takes the tracks back to grass roots. In the case of the Deep South mix of 'Crossroads' utilising a performance by Prakesh Sontakke on a mohan veena (a Hawaiian slide guitar modified to include the sympathetic resonance and drones found in Indian music) in it's entirerity and added percussion on the dholak by E Shankar.

It must be hard as an artist to maintain an interest from the fans with each new release. If your style changes some fans may depart and if you stay static others may get bored. For me Adham's at the top of his game and delivers exactly what he labels on the tin. In my opinion his only downfall maybe being saturated in an ever growing market where eventually listeners may begin to look for other styles. 

Reviewed by Woodzee.


No comments: