Ikonika Aerotropolis

Ikonika Aerotropolis
6
Starting around 2008, Sara Abdel-Hamid's Ikonika project came up in the wave of Hyperdub post-dubstep artists, utilizing elements of skweee and post-millennium garage-soul, with 8-bit leads and 2-step riddims. As one would expect, sophomore album Aerotropolis is clearly more refined than her 2010 debut, Contact, Love, Want, Have. The tempo has slowed a bit, and the overall feel is more influenced by '80s funk and freestyle house; Aerotropolis is less of a videogame score and more of a dystopic future fight/gang movie soundtrack. "Cryo" is her most menacing track yet, care of a cello-like sub-bass drone, while "Mr. Cake" could be a Chromeo instrumental, with its vintage claps and stabbing lead. For how objectively well this album is produced, however, there's a lack of songwriting holding it back. Without that satisfying melodic development and earworm hook to stamp each track with uniqueness, the record runs together into one retro-futuristic blur. Her drive and influences are there, but, moving forward, the search for hooks may remain her greatest challenge. (Hyperdub)