ESINAM Shapes in Twilights of Infinity
(W.E.R.F. records. Album Review by Amy Sibley-Allen)
Belgian-Ghanaian multi-instrumentalist Esinam Dogbatse a.k.a ESINAM creates a gloriously unique sound universe with her debut album Shapes in Twilights of Infinity. Whilst her Ghanaian roots shine through with powerful ancestral rhythms, they are entwined with contemporary melodic flute and layered sounds creating a boundless musical experience.
Whilst she has previously worked as a ‘one-woman band’ this album also features Axel Gilain (bass), Pablo Casella (guitars) and Martin Méreau (drums & vibraphone). And there are also guests, from London-based poet and spoken word artist Nadeem Din-Gabisi on New Dawn to the soulful vocals of Sibusile Xaba on Flowing River.
A wide array of musical influences are threaded throughout the album, as it journeys in tempo, beats, rhythms and groves, from trip hop vibes to soul and psychedelia. ESINAM’s flute melodies soar on New Dawn (video below filmed in Accra and the Volta region of Ghana) over pulsating rhythms whilst her vocals feature on the more chilled Let It Be and Deep in My Soul, underpinned by bass notes which resonate like a heartbeat.
The vibraphone rhythms on Birds Fly give way to distorted guitars and a more psychedelic rock sound whilst the gentle Flowing River beautifully pairssouth African Sibusile Xaba’s soulful singing with ESINAM’s flute and voice.
The album is neatly bookended by the Prologue and Epilogue, its repetition reminding the listener ‘nothing is lost, nothing is created and all and everything is transformed’. This is definitely an album which should be enjoyed in its entirety capturing continually evolving cycles of sound. You could truly listen for infinity.
Shapes in Twilights of Infinity is on the Belgian label W.E.R.F. Records, based in Bruges, and was released on 3 September 2021