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Ibibio Sound Machine - Electricity

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Ibibio Sound Machine - "Electricity," a 2021 single on Merge.

Just about three years ago, when the world was in a very different place, KEXP celebrated International Clash Day by venturing across the pond to London for a showcase of upcoming artists that radiate the spirit of the Clash in vibrant, diverse ways. One of the most electrifying performances over those four days came from electro Afro-funk ensemble Ibibio Sound Machine. Fusing the polyrhythms of West African funk, highlife, disco, and post-punk, the Nigeria-born, London-based band light stages figuratively on fire with their genre-bending sound.

This fall, the band released their first single since their 2019 LP Doko Mien with a title fitting for a band with this much kinetic energy. “Electricity” sees Ibibio Sound Machine team up with Hot Chip for a pulsing electronic track with elements of West African instrumentation. ISM vocalist Eno Williams had this to say about “Electricity”:

“Even in trying times, ‘without love, there’s no electricity.’ This one started out as an idea to mix Afrobeat with Giorgio Moroder–style synth vibes. The end section with Alfred’s korego (Ghanaian 2-stringed folk guitar) solo was already there when we got into the studio, but then we added the big kick drum that happens underneath and Owen from Hot Chip’s crazy drum machine percussion at the end, which gave it a futuristic Afro feel when mixed with the more talking drum parts.”

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