Album Review: Ikonika / ‘Aerotropolis’ (Hyperdub)

Ikonika Aerotropolis


When you’re buying your next flying car, as historians have long predicted you eventually will, Ikonika will be bringing your vision to life and congratulating you on your purchase with a delivery of the far future right to your doorstep. Operating an ’80s electro/R&B swing that rolls its sleeves up, both in fashion (“Mr. Cake”) and graft, Sara Abdel-Hamid effortlessly connects grime subterfuge, maximalist parameters and ringtone investment (“You Won’t Find It There”). Her swooping out of polygon palaces, (“Eternal Mode”) flies with a faint purple hue, lining its golden curves made out of refracting straight lines.

Any malevolence is carried out in a utopia where violence isn’t so much a concept — you’re probably not even allowed to swear, Demolition Man-style – but hostilities are applied by digging down with the same hollowed out, tubular tools. Regulated by a robotic-armed conveyor belt, humans have long been driven out of the area, made to flee through the sleeve’s computer-designed maze, “Mega Church” boasting a 100% success rate when it comes to failed breakouts. Ikonika’s brave new world slides down the temperature gauge using sleight of hand and tricks of the light; “Backhand Winners” puts insubordinates in the firing line of a grand slam schemer, and “Manchego” uses a console converter to produce joypad grime in tune with original Chicago house.

Putting meat on bones — the key to the album’s success — Ikonika turns her crystal tips into burning spears and icicle keys into finger blistering platters. Absorbing.

File under: Rustie, Kode9, XXYYXX