Ikonika: Smuck / We Can Be Ikons
Planet Mu

Subeena feat Jamie Woon and Om'mas Keith: Solidify / Analyse
Planet Mu

Sara Abdel Hamid's ten-minute two-tracker finds the Hyperdub associate sharing the Ikonika wealth with Planet Mu. “Smuck” bounds from the starting gate with hyperactive arcade melodies and synth swirls crossing swords with a thrusting kick drum and snare pattern. Though not quite five minutes long, the tune still manages to squeeze in some woozy, prog-flavoured synth trails amidst the trippy mayhem. The B-side's “We Can Be Ikons,” a remix of Eero Johannes' “We Could Be Skweeeerooos,” is even punchier than “Smuck.” The remix's tight groove bounces gleefully while a see-sawing bass line pulsates in the background, as once again Moog-like synthesizers carves a path through an 8-bit beehive of slapping snares. Anything but dour or dystopic, the candy-coloured track is so high-spirited it's almost sickly sweet.

London-based producer and DJ Sabina Plamenova (aka Subeena) drops some very strong material indeed on her own two-track single. “Solidify” augments her drums, bass, and production treatments with vocals and keyboards by Jamie Woon and Sa-Ra Creative Partners' Om'mas Keith respectively. There's a electrified, slow jam vibe to the cut, with Woon's soulful croon and falsetto harmonies resting comfortably alongside Rhodes sprinklings and Subeena's sparse bass crawl and crisp dub-funk pulse—in short, a slow-motion, lightly swaying “lover's rock” excursion punctuated by Subeena's whip-crack snare. Subeena flies solo on the flip's “Analyse,” but the track's breezy charm makes it abundantly clear that she's up to the challenge. Rolling in on a wave of synthetic sunshine, the blissed-out “Analyse” is leagues removed from dubstep and, if anything, nudges Subeena's sound closer towards synth-soaked IDM than anyone might have thought possible.

November 2009