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Ibukun Sunday

October 22nd 2021

The Last Wave

Nigerian electronic musician and violist Ibukun Sunday debuts on Phantom Limb’s Spirituals imprint with The Last Wave, a uniquely bold and brightly coloured take on ambient music.

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 apocalypse. “The Last Wave talks about the beginning and the ending of Earth,” Ibukun writes. “So many things are now happening here in Nigeria.”

Though the fuzzed-out elegance of his music can be compared to the work of Lawrence English, William Basinski or Tim Hecker, Ibukun’s core culture shines through in a pure and singular way. Scattered throughout The Last Wave are unexpected melodic antiphonies closely aligned with African music, interspersed between huge, spacious drones and field recordings. A heavy, apocalyptic dread contrasts fascinatingly with passages of light. “Almost all traditions of thought have their eschatologies,” Ibukun explains, “but my music gives me hope again, hearing the sound of nature.” These words capture a strand tightly woven into The Last Wave: while much of its static-spiked, destructive sound design conjures end times, its skipping rhythmic patterns and melodic contours are made of beautifully vibrant colours.

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