Ikonika: I Make Lists EP (Hum & Buzz)
We've had to wait an awful long time for some new music from the very wonderful and exceedingly talented Ikonika but thankfully the wait's finally over with this stunning release on her own Hum & Buzz label.
It starts with four beats then a roll. Bass noises get higher in tone until cymbal sounds crash and the synth comes over it all warped and wrong. It's jarring and unsettling until the sampled sound of Ikonika's throat being cleared comes in. Then the music catches up with itself and comes together whereupon a high pitched synth comes in. Intermittently it fades back to four beats then a roll. The song keeps this pattern and worms its way into your ears and a corner of your brain and suddenly you find that you've been nodding your head for the last thirty seconds without realising. It's repetitive and is as satisfying as the title suggests. "I Write Lists"; make things happen and tick things off.
Sampled footsteps walk across the start of ”ËTake Pictures' (see below). It has a high electric tone repeated over & over and a layer of synths. The drums have a straightforward dance beat and the sounds over the top make this a proper dance floor filler. It's got a squelchy acid vibe and is very very catchy. The feeling is of a warm sound drawing you in and making you move. Then it sweeps away with high swooshing synths that come and go, grabbing you and putting you feel like your head is way up in the sky.
”ËCatch Vibes' has a robotic echoing voice repeating the title again and again as a bell like tune plays gently behind it. The sound grows with squelches and drum beats, it builds until you think it's going to explode, then stops, pauses and we are off. The beats seem to be disconnected, as if they have been scissored apart and glued back together but not quite aligned. It's certainly not as smooth as the first two tracks, it moves forward jerking and spitting sound.
”ËCold Soaking' builds on drum beats and an echo of bass. A spiralling high pitched synth note all moving at the same time. It's not a warm song, it's terrifying. As if you are running as fast as you can away from something. It's a claustrophobic feeling song that drags you along. It made me feel cold as the beats get nearer and stronger.
”ËWith Your Mouth' still feels cold and disconnected but not as frightening as its predecessor. It's all beats and small bass noises. Simple electro tunes over the top, until hand claps start and the beats stutter along. Again your head is being messed with. It's not straightforward at all. The tune grows bigger and bigger but there's still something not quite right about it.
”ËPR812' has a sound like two pieces of metal being tapped together. The strings of electric noise herald in a dance beat that makes your feet tap and head move. It's back to warm, accessible music and it's like the sun has finally come out and you are in a wide open space with these noises inside your head. It's moving higher and higher.
Ikonika comes from the outskirts of London, by Heathrow Airport. This could be the reason that this music can make you feel like you're flying up into a cloudless sky.
This alternates between feeling very warm and terrifyingly cold. I like it a lot. As it's just an EP it's just a taste of what's to come from Ikonika in this new direction. I will be waiting impatiently for what she will bring us next.
All words by Adrian Bloxham. You can read more from Adrian on LTW here.