Skip to main content

Selections: Ibibio Sound Machine

In this series, we invite DJs, producers and label heads to dig into their digital crates and share the contents of their collections. This week, the London funk, disco, Afrobeat and post-punk fusionists spotlight some of their current favourite tracks

London group Ibibio Sound Machine alchemise funk, disco, Afrobeat and post-punk into a combustible mixture. Synths and drum machines have always been a part of their sound, but on their last album, the Hot Chip-produced ‘Electricity’, the band led by British-Nigerian singer Eno Williams and Australian saxophonist Max Grunhard moved closer to electronic dance music than ever before, adding heavier, headier bleeps and machine rhythms to their spry live instrumentation. 

It was a winning formula, and one they’ve doubled down on for their fifth record, ‘Pull The Rope’. Made alongside Sheffield producer Ross Orton — who has worked with M.I.A., Roots Manuva and Toddla T among many others — the recording process found the group working differently, with Eno and Max writing songs together before the rest of the band members incorporated their own parts. It’s a lean, direct and addictive collection, with Eno’s versatile vocals, funk basslines, crisp drums and uplifting horn parts merging with a grittier analogue machine edge. ‘Mama Say’ is an instant standout with its stripped-back verses and sparkling synth-laden chorus, ‘Got To Be Who U Are’ has a vocal that will get stuck in your head and spiky acid bleeps, and ‘Dance In The Rain’ finds them channelling some of the house music energy they first explored on ‘Electricity’.

With ‘Pull The Rope’ just released on Merge, Eno and Max share some of their current favourite tracks and artists with DJ Mag.

Nilüfer Yanya
‘Like I Say (I runaway)’ [Ninja Tune]

“Been a fan of Nilüfer since her ‘Miss Universe’ album, and really digging this latest track — feels like another evolution of what was already a really mature sound.”

Jonny Drop / Andrew Ashong
‘Puzzle Dust’ [Albert’s Favourites]

“Andrew is a bit of a legendary South London record collector and renaissance man. His latest release with Jonny Drop is bound to be featuring at some sunny picnics in Brockwell Park this summer.”

Mount Kimbie feat. King Krule
‘Boxing’ [Warp Records]

“The new Mount Kimbie record has been getting some plays at our house, and this track is a favourite, especially being King Krule fans from way back.”

Eddie Chacon
‘Sundown’ [Stones Throw Records]

“This was one of the deepest records of last year for us... John Carroll Kirby’s production provides a brilliant frame for Eddie’s melancholy drenched musings.”

Beverly Glenn-Copeland
‘The Ones Ahead’ [Transgressive Records]

“Beverly Glenn-Copeland’s 1986 record ‘Keyboard Fantasies’ has been one of our favourite albums in recent years, so we were excited last year when he put out a great new record. One of the most singular voices we’ve heard.”

‘Off The Grid’ [Real World Records]

“Onipa are a great London-based Afro-futurist collective, featuring K.O.G. They put this record out recently and we’ve been digging the vibes!”

Tony Njoku
‘Looking For Light’ [PRAH Recordings]

“Love Tony’s voice and piano playing. He’s an amazing artist, and this latest release is another great one from him.”

‘WEMA’ [!K7 Records]

“Not exactly super-recent as it’s from 2022, but we loved this record. It’s a unique transcontinental collaboration that brings a really fresh take to Afro-futurist sounds.”

‘Daylight Song’ [Warp Records]

“Hot-off-the-press release from a band that captures the darkness of South London perfectly with their socially conscious blend of guitars and beats.”

‘Teething’ [PIAS]

“We toured with these guys a few years back. They are great and we’re so happy to see they’ve just released their debut album, which is sounding brilliant.”