Bursting onto the dubstep scene in 2008 with Please/Simulacrum, Ikonika has since made an established name for herself as a diverse and exciting producer. With releases falling under the genres of techno, house, dubstep and R&B, to name but a few, it is clear that the London-based artist's musical multiplicity knows no bounds. Yet despite having her fingers in this multitude of musical pies, the quality of Ikonika’s output has never been hindered.
The Library Album is no different. Typically, library music is inconspicuous, floating around in the back of films or tv shows, as easy to ignore as it is to notice. Baring the history of this inoffensive genre in mind, its as if Ikonika has set out to challenge this stereotype, adding her own chapter to the story of library music. The album is awash with personality and flair. Renowned for having a strong melodic core to her songs, Sara Abdel-Hamid has adapted this element of her production to suit the library music model. Yet each sound is geared towards the generation of an eerie but enchanting atmosphere, with industrial clangs and heavy reverb evoking images of hazy and cavernous spaces. Ikonika’s creation of this dark and shadowy sound world is precisely what grips your attention, leaving her own indelible stamp on the genre that makes it undoubtedly superior to the humdrum tunes that comprise library music’s historical catalogue.
Whilst the bulk of the album is distinctly cinematic, it is easy to imagine songs such as Golf, Assert and Satiate seamlessly slipping in to a murky 5am set. These cuts have a more dance oriented beat, but are still heavily laden with metallic shots and ominous synths, rising and falling from the industrial depths with a marked lifelike quality. Beautifully rugged and personal, Sara Abdel-Hamid has undoubtedly opened up new paths of exploration within the realms of library music with this novel release. The malleable nature and intriguing potential of this otherwise mundane genre is now on show for all to see. An exhilarating precedent has been set.
Words: Tom Bradley