Ibukun Sunday, “The Last Wave”
By Arielle Gordon · October 25, 2021

Ibukun Oladipupo spent the first six months of the pandemic in Ghana, after what was supposed to be a two-week residency left him stranded abroad due to travel restrictions, unable to return to Nigeria. That sense of deep unease weighs heavily on his latest record, The Last Wave: “Burn It All Down” opens the album with a discordant, elongated tone that grows louder and sharper as the song goes on.

But it’s not just the pandemic that casts a dour outlook on The Last Wave; Oladipupo’s dread about the ongoing climate catastrophe plays out in his compositions as well. “Last Earth,” which draws on raw field recordings, uses bird calls as a slow percussive element, their bleak caws echoing like exhausted canaries in a proverbial coal mine. But there’s also room for lightness, too: “Saints and Sinners” combines the circuitous sounds of nature, like waves and wind, with a fluttering synth. It’s the closest the album gets to a sense of meditative calm; it’s almost as if, after a year and a half of ongoing chaos, Oladipupo is giving us, and himself, space to catch our breath.

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