Boomkat Product Review:
Iceboy Violet mutates drill rap and ambient noise with heavy inspo from desire and fantasy- a sureshot RIYL Rainy Miller, AYA, Blackhaine, Elvin Brandhi, Visionist.
The eminently watchable Iceboy fully takes control of proceedings on ‘Not a Dream But a Controlled Explosion’, following up 2022’s ‘The Vanity Project’, as produced by Nick León, Space Afrika, Jennifer Walton, AYA and others, with their truest self-portrait yet. Entirely self-produced, written and performed by Iceboy, the eight songs star guest vox by Florence Sinclair and Orlando, laced into a potent brew of emosh drill expression unusually heightened by their feel for belly-in-mouth rushes of textured choral pads and distressed tones, often sprung with depth charge subs. It’s another startling futureshock from a scenius that has been cultivated in the gut of Manc clubs and bedrooms over the preceding years, and most vividly, thornily bloomed between the cracks of styles in this decade, most notably via Space Afrika's extended fam as well as Rainy Miller’s Fixed Abode stable.
Like their cohort, and frankly many of the best to do it in Manchester right now, Iceboy hails from elsewhere, but draws strength from a self-organising, DIY community of mutual souls who encourage the best from each other. ‘Not a Dream But a Controlled Explosion’ speaks to the city’s sense of sanctuary, and the freedoms it allows, with a genuinely dare-to-differ burst of self expression. At each turn they twist convention to taste, parsing a crucial signal from the noise between the opening transition of ambient thizz to hungry rap, and a staggering conclusion of ambient bashment, ‘Pablos Cathedral’.
The set’s dreamlike emotional tenor fluctuates in between brooding, weightless poetry in duet with Florence Sinclair on ‘Black Gold’, to cold slugs of shoegaze dancehall in ‘Wounded Coogi’ and a keening R&B elegy à la early FKA Twigs in ‘Refracted’ ft. Orlandor. Throw in an incredibly strong finish with the martial doomhall of ‘Ekklipse’ and gut-punch of ‘Paris, Bradford’, and we more clearly than ever hear the roots and branches of Iceboy’s music as a product of heritage, modernity, and a phantasmic, liminal vision.