Diggin in the Crates - August 29

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Published on: August 29th, 2017
Pop Music from London, Hip Hop greatness


Ibibio Sound Machine


I have been inundated with so much great music recently, I needed some time to digest before slinging the jams for ya'll.  First of all, thanks to Twist and Shout Records in Denver, their selections, and friendly staff made it easy to dig for the rad albums.  At the top of the stack of albums: Ibibio Sound Machine and their newest recording, Uyai.  My pronunciation of  I.S.M may be off but their sound is beautiful and not easy to dismiss.  Based out of London, Ibibio Sound Machine creates beat heavy songs, centered around rhythms heavily influenced by 80's pop music.  There is more of a connection between Miami Sound Machine and Ibibio Sound Machine besides the name.  Vocalist Eno Williams, was heavily influenced by Miami Sound Machine's sounds and rhythms and the love of 80's groove is evident on many of the tracks.  The other component Williams provides is her choice of language for her lyrics.  Ibibio is a southern Nigerian dialect taught to William's by her mother and grandmother.  William's infuses Ibibio dialect with English,  which helps communicate the messages of the songs.  Many of the lyrics are folk tales told to William's by her mother's, filled with life lessons, and wisdom, and backed by grooves of the Sound Machine, the songs come to life, teaching and entertaining.   Listen to the uptempo tracks, "Give Me a Reason," or,"The Pot is on Fire." The overall feel is a positive intense dance groove.  Check out this NPR interview for more insight into the creation of the songs.  The downtempo tracks, "One That Light's up," and "Sunray," have a warmth, that envelopes the listener with fun, danceable rhythms, but a calming feel overall. If ever the genre world music, was needed, ISM is the reason.  Filled with afro-funk and dance, tattooed with a healthy dose of 80's pop, Ibibio Sound Machine is a breath of fresh air on the music scene, reminding listeners, there is always something beautiful on the musical horizon. 


The Ibibio Sound Machine somehow led me to the Roots 1999 masterpiece, Things Fall Apart.  The beats of ISM got me thinking about Questlove, drummer for the Roots, and the crack of Questlove's snare drum.  So distinctive and full of "pop," I quickly found myself immersed in the BPM's of Things Fall Apart.  Recorded at Electric Lady Studios, this record probably cemented the Roots as one of the most influential hip hop bands.  From the opening sample of Spike Lee's, "Mo Better Blues," The Roots made it clear this was something the music world had never heard before. Biting lyrics revealed a real world of growing up in today's hard world.  The album is also a celebration of hip hop (You Got Me, listen here,) as an ever evolving art form.  With contributions from Common, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Eve, Beanie Siegel and Ursula Rucker, that give much weight to the serious groove of this record.  Interesting to realize, The music collective, Soulquarians, were involved in the production of Things Fall Apart, as well as, Common's Like Water for Chocolate, D'angelo's Voodoo, and Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun.  Sort of makes sense these records and especially Things Fall Apart left a heavy footprint on the dance-floor of popular music.  Go take a listen.

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