Ikebe Shakedown, the self-titled album from the Brooklyn-based band, plays with elements of
cinematic soul, Afro-funk, deep disco, and boogaloo in all the right ways. After spending a few years together the group, named after a favorite Nigerian boogie record (and pronounced “ee-KAY-bay”), delivers a driving set of tunes featuring a mighty horn section anchored by tight, deep-pocketed grooves.
“Right now in cities across the globe, there are plenty of great Afrobeat revivalist bands aping the sound and groove of Fela Kuti’s legendary sound. Yet, surprisingly few of the new groups have strayed from an orthodox interpretation of the genre or done much real innovation…Ikebe Shakedown is here to change that. The band takes signature Afrobeat elements—big unison horns, slinky bass lines, tight little guitar licks—and blends them with tasty grooves culled from ’70s-style horn-driven funk”. –WNYC
The forthcoming Ikebe debut for Ubiquity Records sees the band push their globally-informed sound and eclectic approach to tune-writing into new territory. “Self-titling the album is a way to introduce the audience to the many facets of the band — to provide a more complete understanding of what we do,” bassist Vince Chiarito says. “Our sound has grown to incorporate our influences without overtly representing any one in particular. It just sounds like us,” he adds.
Most of the rhythm section met at Bard College, and the band rounded-out and officially formed when everyone settled in Brooklyn in 2008. From there, Ikebe has emerged as a compelling voice on the progressive local scene. After a run of dates around NYC, the band recorded their debut 7” single and the EP, Hard Steppin’, which was released on Colemine Records in 2009, receiving high praise from critics and fans alike. The group was invited to record at Dunham Studios with producer Tom Brenneck and at Killion Sound in Los Angeles, home of engineer Sergio Rios of fellow Ubiquity act, Orgone. “The studios share a lot of similarities — the tracks were all cut live to tape with minimal use of headphones and overdubs. This basic approach allowed us to dig in and really focus on getting dynamic performances,” Chiarito explains.
The old school mentality to recording spills over in lush, laid-back, and soulful funk joints like “Kumasi Walk” and “No Name Bar,” where the multi-layered horn section plays off a cavernous backing track of slick drumming, spacey Hammond organ, and nimble guitar riffing. The cinematic soul sound is warm and deep, with the 7-piece band sounding more like a larger ensemble as increasing layers leap from the tape. At the other end of the BPM counter, on “Tunjunga,” the band build a gritty African disco jam boasting a floor-filling percussion section, adding seductive guitar licks and an irresistible bass-line to set the horns ablaze. “Tame The Beats” is pure fire — bold melodies and heavy rhythms propel the song, with Meters-esque breakdowns providing only brief respite from the action.