There's something fantastically idiosyncratic and creative going on in a pocket of London, with an eccentricity, the likes of which I have never heard before and its making me quite excited. Its being generated by the Ibibio Sound System who's self titled album is one of the latest releases on the Soundway label. London born Nigerian, Eno Williams sings of folk stories recounted to her by her family. Her sumptuous and sexy voice glides over the music, at times somewhat disconnected, as the band gets on with the job of creating all sorts of loose limbed rhythms, mixed with electronic sound effects, ad hoc tweaks and buzzes not forgetting afrobeat horns plus occasional cow bells. For European ears, much of this album has the sound of broken disco, futuristic yet with a retro-flavour of Starsky and Hutch pulling up for a night in Studio 54.
As the album progresses the grooves becomes deeper and more psychedelic. With tracks, 'Woman of Substance' and 'Prodigal Son' people may well start to draw parallels between Eno Williams and Grace Jones. The tracks are so individualistic that it may take a little more thought to drop one of them into a DJ set but hang on.... a better solution would be to drop an audience into Ibibio Sound Machine set and take delight in the different shapes people throw as they dance or attempt to dance to the music.
I still remember fondly those moments at the Whirly Gig where, after a night of dancing, we'd chill out under a parachute silk, wafted up and down by the hands of people in a circle holding the parachute whilst the DJ played some chill out tunes. This album ends with a track that fits the post work out chill down perfectly, 'Ibibio Spiritual' an Ibibioed version of the universal Amazing Grace.
Congratulation to Soundway records for putting out such an original " outside of the box" recording. Have fun, don't try and deconstruct and critique the music, just take an energy drink, throw some shapes and get on down.
The full lineup of the band consists of Eno Williams (vocals), Alfred Bannerman (guitar), Anselmo Netto (percussion), Leon Brichard (bass/synth), Benjamin Bouton (drums/keyboards), Max Grunhard (alto sax), Tony Hayden (trombone/synth) & Scott Baylis (trumpet).
Ibibio Sound Machine Soundcloud.
Ibibio Page on Soundway Records
Buy Ibibio Sound Machine on Amazon