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  • Filed under: Review
  • 07/05/2013

H-SIK "Sonic Rage" b/w "No Promises"

Based in Amsterdam and born in the Ivory Coast, Herve Sika (a.k.a. H-SIK) is the latest addition to the increasingly adventurous roster of Bristol-based label Black Acre. True to the imprint's recent form, his first single—which follows a debut mini-album on Error Broadcast last year—is an eccentric mix of juke-indebted drum-machine workouts, jungle breaks, and epic film-score synths. It's a combination that feels like shouldn't work, yet it all comes together to form an enjoyable, if somewhat chaotic, two-track release.

At first, with its emphasis on huge, blown-out kick drums and chopped rap vocals, "Sonic Rage" isn't a million miles away from the simplistic bombast of trap. However, the sheer weirdness of Sika's arrangement, along with the jungle and juke-like drum breaks that pepper the track, elevate it well beyond the realm of big-room beatmaking. The early emphasis on bass is something of a red herring anyhow; as the track progresses, it evolves into dense patchwork of rapid-fire drum hits and tense synth lines, ultimately morphing into something much more akin to old-school rave music.

The slightly more spacious "No Promises" is the pick of the two though. Here, Sika builds on a slightly less erratic jungle rhythm, moving the emphasis away from the low end and toward an atmospheric backdrop of drawn-out synth pads and slow-motion vocals. A slightly dissonant wandering synth lead gives the track a cinematic quality, as the cheap, horn-like sounds emulate the pseudo grandeur of some low-budget sci-fi TV show theme tune. The effect provides a nice juxtaposition to the inherent energy of Sika's fast-paced beats, resulting in a production with a pleasantly deceptive amount of depth to it.

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