Ikonika

Contact, Love, Want, Have

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A daunting proposition in the wake of Burial, Memories of the Future, Untrue, and Waiting for You -- the previous Hyperdub artist full-lengths, all excellent -- Ikonika nonetheless harnesses her varied forms of post-dubstep attack spread across four 2008/2009 singles, 3/8ths of which are reprised, for her first album. Her battering beats, crisp percussion accents, and melodic streaked-bleep runs are in steady supply, as are the memory-triggering and unease-generating synthetic textures that would make any producer of techstep jungle or moody Detroit techno acutely envious. Just as transportive as any of her labelmates’ albums, Contact, Love, Want, Have places the listener in some kind of dystopian dancehall arcade, as indicated in the “insert coin” parenthetical of the opening “Ikonoklast” and the second-to-last “Look (Final Boss Stage),” where it all culminates in a baleful combination of bashment drums, bass probes, and piercing synth rays. The sharp sequencing is just as crucial to the album’s effect as the tracks themselves, best exemplified in the eight minutes that make up “Yoshimitsu” and the following “Fish”: the former gradually works itself into an increasingly anticipated release, repeatedly retracing its steps with swelling intensity, but that release never arrives, while the latter is not the least bit inhibited, spraying bursting sprites over fidgety percussion that knocks and rattles across deep bass tones and hyperactive swarming FX. Just the same, “Millie,” Ikonika’s alternately drifting and wobbling debut A-side, turns out to be an ideal lead-in to “Sahara Michael,” a highlight of the 5 Years of Hyperdub compilation. A mystifyingly complex production enhanced with bobbing sub bass and swarming strings, its drums switch between a swaying lurch and a stomp as acidic bleeps flutter and gurgle -- and that merely scratches the surface.

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