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Ikonika (Sara Abdel-Hamid)

Updated on April 27, 2012

Ikonika (dubstep / electronic music)

Ikonika is the alias of London-born electronic musician, producer, and DJ Sara Abdel-Hamid. She has released one full length record, one EP, and several singles. She was called “the woman pushing dubstep forward” by Alex Macpherson, writing in the UK paper, the Guardian. Ikonika’s music is primarily associated with dubstep music, which is a subgenre of electronic music originating from London. It is notable for its predominant bass lines and use of reverberation, synth patterns, driving drums, clipped samples, and minimal vocals. Ms. Abdel-Hamid names pop artist Madonna as a primary inspiration and cites rapper Nicki Minaj and Róisín Murphy as ideal collaborators.

Ikonika released it first single, the 12” Please/Simulacrum, in 2008 on the Hyperdub Records label. She was quickly recognized as an innovator in the electronic music genre, though she received significant attention for simply being a woman working in a largely male dominated genre. Kitty Empire, writing for the Observer, noted that Ikonika was “a rare female face in the male-dominated world of dubstep.” Ms. Empire placed Ikonika on her “More to look out for in 2009” list and named electronic music pioneer Aphex Twin as a recognizable influence in Ikonika’s work.

Ikonika released several singles and the EP, Edits, prior to the release of its full length debut, Contact, Love, Want, Have in 2010. Martin Clark, writing on his Blackdown website, interviewed Ms. Abdel-Hamid in March of 2010. In the interview, Mr. Clark mentioned a recent quote from Daedelus (Alfred Darlington, a Los Angeles, California based producer), in which claimed to enjoy Ikonika’s music but didn’t feel like it embodied a female perspective. Ms. Abdel-Hamid replied that she “never really know(s) how to answer questions relating to gender,” while noting that her music had no other choice but to embody her perspective.

The record, Contact, Love, Want, Have, received critical acclaim from the electronic music press. It received a 7.0 rating from Pitchfork writer Joe Colly, and after the record’s release, the UK paper the Guardian described Ikonika as “one of UK dubstep’s sharpest talents.” The record itself is smooth and polished, with the core elements of dubstep anchoring the production however, it is easy to see elements of Aphex Twin and even instrumental flourishes of New Order appear throughout the work. It’s an easy record to recommend and the type of music that can be enjoyed at either 3AM or 3PM.


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