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Ikonika:
Distractions (Hyperdub)

I’ve
always held Ikonika’s music in the same regard as vintage Zomby or
Rustie, before they veered headlong into trap and maximal sounds
respectively. Their productions were often deceptively simple, using
a minimal palette of sounds and plenty of negative space to craft
bright, spry jams with a bleepy edge. I consider her early records
for Hyperdub and especially for Planet µ to be some of the finest of
that particular wave of sparkly, post-dubstep je ne sais quoi bass
music. With Distractions, her third full-length for Hyperdub, she’s
still dealing in tightly crafted, unassuming productions, but she’s
refined her technique and roped in some welcome collaborators. Andrea
Galaxy contributes an R&B vocal to “Noblest” which adds some
pop flair to the front half of the album. She still skates the outer
edge of dubstep and trap with halfbeat tracks like “435” and
“Manual Decapitation,” but that they sit alongside more active
numbers like the acid-tinged “Lear” or brief interludes like the
beatless “BGM” or the hazy “Do I Watch it like a Cricket
Match?” makes for a nicely undulating cadence across its tracklist.

Ikonika: Distractions HDBCD035 by Ikonika

Other vocals appear from MC Jammz on “Sacrifice” and Jessy Lanza
and Sweyn J on closing tracks “Hazefield.” With the exception of
“Noblest,” there’s nothing so immediate and infectious as “Sahara
Michael” from her debut or “Beach Mode” from her sophomore
release, but it’s a deeper sound for Ikonika, bridging the space
between dubstep and trap and her brighter, almost chiptune
sensibility from past works. I like the off kilter groove of
“Girlfriend” as an opener and the twilight downtempo glimmer of
“Lossy,” sometimes bringing to mind the Blade Runner-esque
halfbeat excursions of early Kuedo. Like much of her music, there is
something underlying that is compelling enough to draw me back time
and time again, even as her arrangements are often straightforward or
sparse. I really like this particular focus into deeper space and
more subdued grooves, best taken in as a whole album. Recommended
listening.

Buy it: Bandcamp