The fourth full length from London-based groovemeisters Ibibio Sound Machine offers a titanic showdown between various cultural forces, and lets us in on the explosive results. Firing together traditional West African rhythms of Cameroon and the Nigerian Ibibio language - the native tongue of vocalist and co-founder Eno Williams - with forward-facing electronic fulminations, an inspired hybridity is born. And it’s one which ‘Electricity’ feeds on lavishly. Produced by acclaimed synthpoppers Hot Chip, the record creeps and sizzles with their circuit-board infusions to layer an added eeriness upon Ibibio’s Afrofuturist vision. Take apotropaic opener ‘Protection From Evil’: it implies some mean and malevolent monster, which Ibibio set out to overpower with the vivacity of their vibe alone. The track renders shattering glass sheets via modulated synthesis to inspire these danceable yet foreboding dungeons of groove. Most of the subsequent tracks adhere to this compelling dynamic: ‘Casio (Yak Nda Nda)’ broods like something Soccer96 might conjure, while ‘17 18 19’ delivers ‘Electricity’’s most irresistibly funky moment. There’s also a few refreshing turns and twists along the way. A pair of Grace Jones-esque sojourns to ‘80s clubland (‘All That you Want’; ‘Wanna See Your Face Again’), or the sumptuously beautiful melodies of ‘Afo Ken Doko Mien’ mix up what is a blitzing disco-ball of a record.
Records & Merch
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The tunes are still busy and layered, but every element of them serves a purpose.