Ikonika – Contact, Love, Want, Have

Ikonika – Contact, Love, Want, Have

Dubstep has always made a name for itself in being able to convey those dim and bleak sounds of electronic music in an almost sinister fashion. It’s a genre that is quickly turning into one that almost deserves a genre all to itself because even labeling something as electronic is far too vague. And while it’s been a male-dominated genre, Ikonika has succeeded through her own self-determination and talent. And, much like all the other dubstep producers, she brings forth her own take on the style and employs new practices that prove her to be one of the many worthy musicians out there.

With her debut, Contact, Love, Want, Have, for Hyperdub (a label who is mostly known for putting out singles unless a full LP is really warranted), Ikonika displays a knack for being able to write a soaring melody, along with the usual broken beats, breaks and synth. She seems far more in tune into the melodic side of the music whereas for the longest time, it was a genre known primarily for its rhythms. But much like Starkey has done this year and unlike others (such as Vex’d) Ikonika proves her musicality by adding these musical lines into every crevice of her music.

Diversity is the key to keeping people hooked and locked in for the long haul. The biggest downfall to music is when people lose interest and when they’re gone, they’re gone. Ikonika combats this with music that covers a wide spectrum of sounds. For some purists, embellishing your craft and expanding your bubble would seem like too much because they prefer their dubstep to be neat, tidy and easily identifiable. If she didn’t push herself, then we wouldn’t have a bumping, ready-for-the-club hit with “They Are All Losing the War” and its near-disco sound and obvious 80s influence. But music is about growing and maturing, and Ikonika – along with any other musician – has the right to infuse their music with challenging new ideas and themes.

Even on instrumental takes like the exceptional “Yoshimitzu,” Ikonika brings different kinds of drums to the table that can hit the low spots and still deliver higher-ending octaves and even, the middle. And the middle is where she is mostly operating in, never pulling to either side in any moments. Following that with the upbeat course of “Fish,” she introduces you to the main part of the song first, before adding layers and layers of sounds. Where everything was at first delegated by a low bass, by the time the melody hits you have a wood block tapping away, a cymbal, a pedal tone by way of a synth and so much more. This, in many ways, is probably why a single or an EP wouldn’t have worked; Contact, Love, Want, Have is exactly what Ikonika needed.

She’s definitely influenced by what 8-Bit music has been able to accomplish in incorporating her own brand of digital sounds onto her music. The beginning of “Sahara Michael” is all about revealing a new sound and on “Idiot,” she revels in Crystal Castles’ type of video game love with a melody that is built almost entirely off a synthesizer. The bass is still balanced and it certainly leaves an impact wherever it goes, but the music Ikonika has created is both simple enough to follow and challenging enough to bring back future listens. She even heads into space with dreamy closer, “Red Marker Pens (Good Ending),” much like you use a red marker to correct an essay or to grade a test, she’s gone back and edited all she can, corrected all she can and modified all she can and all of it, sounds skillfully composed.