Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Album Review: Celt Islam - Generation Bass (2014)

This is the first of two recent Earth City Recordz* label releases the blog currently has queued up for review. The other release is another instalment in the label's Future Sound of the Underground sampler series – Volume 4 – and I hope to get back to that one soon. But this one takes pride of place and is yet another cutting edge work from the label's main man, Sufi electro/dub specialist Muhammad Hamzah (aka Celt Islam).

Earlier in the year I took a look at Celt Islam's seriously good Medina EP, but Generation Bass represents something entirely different. Not only in terms of the album being rather more expansive than the EP format – featuring twelve frenetic tracks – but because it also appears to represent a move toward a much harder edge style.
Where much of Celt Islam's past work has merged electro textures with dub and softer world music signatures, Generation Bass morphs industrial strength dubstep with high tempo EDM in a way that elevates this sound to another level of intensity altogether. It doesn’t sacrifice a commitment to global sounds – a wide variety of “world” music influences remain intact – yet it also feels quite different to past work ... heavier, more urgent. In short, Generation Bass feels like progression, a genuine step forward for Celt Islam.
The album opens as it means to go on, instantly reaching for the jugular on the highly charged dubstep-infused 'Dub Virus', followed by the sub-rattling 'Ghettoblaster', which does exactly what it says on the tin. They’re clear highlights and a great choice as an opening pairing, but there's no let up all the way through to album closer ‘Energize’. With no obvious catch-yer-breath chill out moment, this is relentless high bpm electro dub of an almost post apocalyptic nature.

If Celt Islam’s music is all about sending a message – and it is, the message has always been one of respect, tolerance, and inclusiveness – then right now it appears that something is under this man’s skin, and right now it seems he’s as mad as hell.

And why wouldn’t he be when every day it feels like nobody is listening? When every day (on a global scale) there’s another new conflict? When every day murder, hatred, and division is rife just about everywhere you care to look ... when you’ve reached the stage where you can no longer trust your own government or its puppets in the mainstream media?

Generation Bass, whatever else it is, feels as though it was a cathartic exercise for the man who made it.

Other highlights include ‘Cosmonaut’, ‘Earth Tribe’ and ‘Interstellar Nomad’, but there isn't really any filler on what amounts to a take-no-prisoners no-holds-barred beast of an album.

My copy of the album is an advance release for preview, so it’s not quite out yet ... but keep an eye on the Earth City Recordz Bandcamp page ... and maybe grab a couple of the label’s other releases while you wait.

* belated postscript/update 27 August 2014: it turns out Generation Bass was released on Urban Sedated Records - not Earth City Recordz. This review was written pre-release and I just presumed Earth City Recordz would release and distribute as per the case with much of (but not all of) Celt Islam's previous work ...


  1. As brilliant, well constructed and well produced as ever. Absolutely love Celt Islam's work.

  2. thanks for the comment Barbara, totally agree, his work deserves wider appreciation.