Ikonika – ‘Position’ EP (Hyperdub)

Sara Abdel Hamid’s unquestioned calling card is her synth work. From the woozy pitch shifting of ‘Please’, to the iridescent lead lines of ‘Dckhdbtch’ and the chirpy Freestyle vibes of last year’s ‘Mr Cake’, you’ve always been able to spot an Ikonika track from the second those keys hit. Dropping her latest collection the, the six track ‘Position’ EP, dead in the middle of summer – you could be forgiven for assuming that Hamid was about to unleash another blast of synthesizer assisted summer sound. The reality that unfolds over the ensuing twenty five minutes of ‘Position’ is instead somewhat different.

Starting off the EP with a bang, the title track smacks us around the ears with a barrage of brutally industrial kicks – causing this writer to momentarily ponder if Hamid has in fact ‘gone Techno’? Not quite as it turns out. With percussion that sounds lifted straight from an iron foundry there are clear rhythmic similarities to Techno, but as with anything Hamid puts her name to, ‘Position’ generally evades any kind of cookie cutter genre classification. The obnoxious sneer of the titular refrain gives the track a hallucinatory edge that’s added to by the appearance of swirling synth arpeggios – meaning ‘Position’ bangs hard but with an unorthodoxy that should be well familiar to Ikonika fans.

Beginning with a wash of calmly droning pads, ‘Praxis’ is more immediately recognisable as the producer’s work. Here the drums throb along at a heartbeat’s pace, combining with the growl of the bass to create a simmering sensuality. Added to by an intricately melodic selection of synth parts, ‘Praxis’ is a pleasingly textured mid tempo number that’s rich in atmosphere.

The beach side mood of ‘Aerotropolis’ meanwhile is revived on ‘Strawberry Underlay’ – with its juddering old school drum machine assisted rhythms and steadily evolving upbeat riff. With these core elements inserted and replaced selectively, Hamid plays a cute game of tension and release, cooling things down occasionally with a slather of pads. ‘Wakeup Sequence’ shimmers with an similar charm, as Hamid allows indulges each part’s individual quirks to craft the most instantly recoginsable track on the release.

Perc’s take on ‘Megachurch’ from ‘Aerotropolis’ comes draped in just the amount of blackened scuzz you’d expect from him – although to its strength the rework allows the original’s resplendent main riff its time to shine. Combining the two disparate sounds makes for a wholly disorientating end product that should work wonders in the right hands. Hamid’s VIP of her own ‘You Won’t Find It Here’ finds the original’s main elements thrust into into higher resolution for a bigger and more focused club tool that comes with an eminently DJ friendly bounce.  East London Club Trax boss Alex Deamonds rounds off this nicely balanced packed with a version of ‘You Won’t Find It Here’ that sounds abstract and distant, with each of the sparsely presented parts  more impactful as a result.

Six tracks that reside in various different locations around the club space, ‘Position’ continues Hamid’s highly original and effective run in some style.

‘Position’ is out Monday 25th August on Hyperdub. Pre-order your copy here.