by Denise Benson
Fans of the Interchill , Instinct and Dakini Labels will be familiar with the West coast based producer,musician and Dj Adham Shaikh. Though perhaps best known as part of the four-member collective Ekko (their Brilliant 1999 Centripetal release remains a personal favourite),Shaikh has been creating both solo and collaborative efforts for the past 15 years. He’s a true producer, brilliant at pulling peoples’ talents together and insightfully committed to his vison of electronics meeting organic (often ancient) instrumentation. Essence is gorgeous ,daring and respectful, blending the globally renowned bansuri (indian bamboo flute) playing of Catherine Potterr with the beat contributions of monteal producer Freeworm , dubwise skills of Sean Hillll, flute stylings of artist Jean-Marc Guillemette, percussion of Yasmine Amal, and much more.”Somptin Hapnin (water in me) “dubs and flows and shakes as vocalist Kinnie Starr pays tribute to water, trees and life. “Sabadhi” cements Shaikh’s reputation for producing finely tuned,ambient loveliness while its sister masterpiece “Sabadub” offers a more beat-heavy , dub-wise treatment of bansuri , bermibau, and viola.
Adham also beautifully balances traditional and experimental, natural and organic during “Sufi Spin”. Here, recordings of Balinese dancing, chanting and flute meet complex beats , the tabla playing of Ekkos’ E.Shankar , and thick grooves , resulting in a deep , heartfelt, engaging whole.
Essence also showcases Adham’s remix skills, with solid treatments of both Ekko’s shiraz (the albums most up-tempo number) and Lisa Walker’s Orca whale-inspired. “Orcadrift”. But it’s the with his dubbed-out reworking of Legion of Green Men’s “Consellation” that Shaikh really cuts loose , adding tension,builds , and thick slabs of bass. Its a massive treatment that’s as true to the original as it is fresh to the ear.