With a name including the parenthetical title ‘Final Boss Stage’ how could we not love this. Ikonika doesn’t actually close her album with this track, it’s the penultimate one, maybe because it’s so euphoric/sad – it’s not the closure you’re looking for. The album actually closes with Red Marker Pens (Good Ending), perhaps reward for those that 100%’d all her 12″s and remixes and even found that hard drive of unreleased stuff in the crate behind the false wall.
A parallax scrolling rush through the layers of snares, chip tune hooks and reverb heavy synth melodies – a blinding conflagration of mid-90s ambient god-games and diamond tough – and faultlessly intricate – Japanese shooters. Regardless of its evocations it remains impeccably titled. This is what you hear on your approach, this is no boss theme this is the prelude. This is the colour clashing shadows of the beast within which you’ll pause for a moment, feeling the weight of achievement, having reached this point. Tough snares beating out a memorised pattern for success.
Like they used to be, this is gloriously and unapologetically tough.
Ikonika’s album’s is out on unfailingly excellent Hyperdub right this very moment.
Like Pictureplane‘s still-jaw-dropping Dark Rift, Scuba‘s So You Think You’re Special is the spectral presence of Big Room House – a entire club caught between two reverb plates, forced to contemplate the breaking dawn of its own hedonism – and relish it. This isn’t the curatorial ghost of British Dance Music that stalked through the response to Burial’s first brush with popular culture. This drags in dub, house, a little breakbeat and the ambient synth washes from IDM not through some curatorial drive but because they feel so good crashing together in the tight little corners of city streets.
The feel of the rolling, pulsing baseline governs all. Things stripped away, washing back over it and yet it perseveres until the clattering drums finally dominate but by then it’s too late – everything’s left and drifted into the night. The taunting siren call of the vocal hook, ripped from peak time to lay waste to the echoes outside the club. Which was always going to be.