Tuesday, 24 August 2010

PRE-ORDER: Ikonika – DCKHDBTCH [Planet Mu]

Over the last couple of years, since the dazzling blast of Ikonika’s ‘Please’ first electrified listeners, the impact of the sort of hyperchromatic fare she’s renowned for putting together has dulled slightly. Its less due to any failings on her part – or on the part of many producers writing tracks within similar regions – than a sense of over familiarity, the deliciously new and alien feel of those early tracks gradually settling down to something approaching a formula. Having said that, out of the many synth driven mutations currently bursting out of dubstep’s cracked exoskeleton Ikonika’s sound retains an intangible brilliance that’s tough to isolate in many of her contemporaries. The muggy, lo-fi feel of her excellent Contact Love Want Have album was a welcome shot of gritty adrenaline, and this follow-up EP on Planet Mu retains many of its traits to much the same effect.

The DCKHDBTCH EP, then, is Ikonika doing what Ikonika does best. Hardly a complaint when what she does is so compulsive, though the tunes here largely fit with the languid flow of the first half of her album than the jet-propelled pace of the final few tracks. The title track will be instantly recognisable to anyone who’s been to see her play in the last year or so, though taken apart from the sheer pace and frenetic energy of her DJ sets it’s a considered move though purple-tinted territory. ‘Ingredients’ is cut from the same cloth, riding off a peculiar broken beat that never really goes anywhere, instead choosing to hang somewhere in space between head and floor. That’s perhaps the one criticism it’s possible to level at the EP – it’s a little tough to figure out where it’s supposed to take you – though as usual her ability to infuse even the most wispy tracks with a real sense of melancholy remains fully intact. Final track ‘Shouldn’t Be Here’ is its real gem then, all muted synth pads and distant vocals over a slow-mo house pulse. It points in an entirely new direction for her music, as it drifts into view and remains for what feels like an all too brief moment before disappearing again.

Words: Rory Gibb
Out: Today


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