Available on: Hyperdub 12″

London’s Sara Abdel-Hamid, or Ikonika, is an artist with ideas to spare. Arriving just after her excellent Planet Mu single ‘Smuck’, ‘Sahara Michael’ (which also saw inclusion on Hyperdub’s five year anniversary compilation) sees her drop the tempo down low to a crunked-out hip-hop crawl.

Using dusty, ancient synths, she fashions a portentous, North African death march; a wind-whipped soundtrack to some 1980s Sega Master System desert level, packed with traps and hidden dangers. Layering 8 bit G-Funk frequencies, parallax style, the groove is a dead man’s skank: original, but somehow glassy-eyed. ‘Sahara Michael’ is easy to admire, but hard to warm to; unlike her best tracks, ‘Please’ and ‘Millie’, it’s hard to picture where ‘Sahara Michael’ is to be enjoyed – to these ears, it’s not tailored to the dancefloor, nor emotive enough to demand repeat listens in the headphones.

Recently, Ikonika’s DJ sets have become condensed, expert deployments of pure rhythm and irresistible funk. If she could capture the propulsive, pneumatic energy of those funky, dubstep and house collisions in her single releases then we’d be in 24/7 groove heaven. As it stands, she’s only hitting the bull’s eye half the time.

Ben Murphy



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