Boomkat Product Review:
Ikonika's album-length collab with dancehall vocalist 45Diboss is her most essential set in ages, fluxing dextrous electro synthwork with fwd-thinking trap, amapiano and chop variations. Tip!
A gifted DJ as well as an elite producer, Ikonika's been an important part of the Hyperdub family for over a decade, blurring the lines between British bass music and the rest of the world's parallel club subgenres. 'Supernova' feels like it's been a long time coming, and in 45Diboss she's found an ideal collaborator - a singer-rapper who can match her ear for melody and inherent sense of rhythm with enough of his own special sauce to not just keep up, but challenge too. Jamaica's ubiquitous chop sound - a potent fusion of trap and dancehall - is reflected in 45's liberal use of AutoTune and Ikonika's occasional use of Young Chop's eponymous snare, a Chicago drill staple that's since been absorbed into the global canon. It's most evident on 'Supernova' - the track sits resolutely within her own creative boundaries (that glassy FM bass, those airy, stuttering pads), and builds it out using hard-hitting rhythms that compliment 45's syrupy delivery.
'Nock Nock' is only long enough for TikTok but packs a punch heavier than most tracks double the size; with a news bulletin synth and trap-dembow judder on the skeletal beat from Ikonika, 45 turns in a vocal performance that's bursting with personality and sing-along charm. 'Heart Racing' meanwhile betrays Ikonika's love of romantic harmonies, harking back to her underrated last full-length "Distractions" with its clouded chords and globular bass hits. Here 45 gets to try his hand with what might be the closest we get to a ballad, spinning cheeky tales of love and sweaty passion that stick to Ikonika's vaporous synths like glue. Anyone who's seen her DJ recently though will know the producer has been rinsing Amapiano, so it's not surprising to hear the log drum spliced into downtempo dancehall on 'Love Di Gyal Dem'. It's a fusion that sounds so good it's unlikely to be the last time we hear it, putting a double underline under a collaboration that truly brings out the best out of both artists.