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Ibukun Sunday

September 20th 2024

Harmony / Balance

Nigerian electronic musician and violist Ibukun Sunday debuts on Phantom Limb with Harmony / Balance, a brooding, introspective take on Afro-ambient music that follows two acclaimed digital-only albums for Phantom Limb imprint Spirituals.

Based in Lagos, Ibukun Sunday has expertly positioned himself between the rarely-married cultures of ambient and West African musics. He entwines his compositions with field recordings from his native Nigeria and deeply considered philosophies of existence, humanity, and society. The themes of Harmony / Balance derive from Swami and Hare Krishna founder A. C. Bhaktivedanta and his work Bhagavad-Gita [Eng: “As It Is”], a script on the duality of human nature. In Bhaktivedanta’s text, two cousins - warriors from the sacred Hindu text the Mahābhārata - and their armies are pitted against each other. The humility, self control, and devotion of one cousin against the arrogance, envy, and pursuit of power of the other. Bhaktivedanta writes that from this battle we see the necessity to cultivate and nurture our love and faith, but to simultaneously understand our selfishness and hubris. Appropriately, in Ibukun Sunday’s music, a heavy, apocalyptic dread contrasts fascinatingly with passages of light. The static-spiked, corrosive sound design of Harmony / Balance conjures darkness, but its skipping rhythmic patterns and melodic contours are made of beautifully vibrant colours.

Though Sunday excels in drawn-out elegance and magisterial repetition, his unique practice, classical training, and core culture shine through in a pure and singular way. Scattered throughout Harmony / Balance are unexpected melodic antiphonies closely aligned with African music, interspersed between huge, spacious drones and field recordings.

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