A Cross Cultural Mini Album of Electro and Dance: Ikio Ayaka as the Acid Queen

July 6, 2009 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook A Cross Cultural Mini Album of Electro and Dance: Ikio Ayaka as the Acid Queenon Twitter

Have you been listening to electronic music lately? If you have any interest in this genre you’ve probably noticed that France is one of the innovative leaders in contemporary dance music. With the success of the two record labels Ed Banger and Kitsune there has been an injection of punk vigor and attitude into the realm of electronic music that makes for a very energetic formula.

I was surprised to hear just how much impact this French sound has on Japanese artists like Ikio Ayaka with her latest album, RE: Acid Queen. It borrows heavily from a largely underground sound while balancing it up with enough pop smartness to appeal to an even larger audience.

Read more about this cross cultural mini album after the jump.

Examples of how the French have impacted the world of dance are numerous: Justice, SebastiAn, Mr. Oizo and Daft Punk are some prominent examples. Daft Punk will always have a special place in my heart, and I wholly embrace the second generation of electro influenced producers hailing from this southern European country. There is probably one artist in this new breed who more than others hs influenced the sounds heard on RE: Acid Queen, and that’s Uffie. Like Ikio Ayaka. this artist incorporates rap elements, singing and mucho attitude on top over very glitchy electronic tracks.

There are differences though that set these two artists apart. Whereas Uffie delivers a sense of rawness on most of her tracks, Ikio clearly wants to put her charm on the more mainstream regular club crowd as well. On the very Uffie-influenced intro track, Ikio Ayaka plays around with words beginning with “Re.” Having listened to Daft Punk’s monotonous masterpiece, “Technologic,” one too many time, this track makes perfect sense. It also sets the tone for the rest of the record which ends up being a very pleasant musical journey.

The main track, “Spin Me Round,” delivers a very catchy take on electro with heavily processed vocals on top of a driving beat and captivating bassline. Now, it’s clear that this is far from being underground, sounding more like a marriage between mainstream electronica and club music, but it works so well, and could easily be the perfect track in the hands of the right DJ.

On to “Mess up my body,” she continues to blend a sense of catchiness with a cut up experimental style. Her energetic voice packs a great punch, and together with “Spin me around,“ these are the two highlights of the album. Both tracks really got my blood pumping and had me wanting to dance, which is a terrific sign.

Unfortunately things become less memorable when the adoration of Uffie becomes blatantly obvious on the song “LoLLyPoP.” I don’t really mind the overtly sexual lyrics which some might find provocative, but I am more concerned that the English rap lyrics just doesn’t cut it. Maybe it’s a question of Ikio Ayaka’s lack of experience, in which case she will probably have plenty of time in the future to develop a greater skill at delivering these kinds of tracks.

When she yet again charters her musical ship onto a sea of a less experimental nature, things instantly become more interesting again. The tracks “Pain killer” and “Spiral Storage” both deliver the drive of the tracks before “LoLLyPop.” They remain slightly more bent out of shape than what you’d expect from mainstream electronic music with some radical voice cut-ups.

For the grand finale, listeners are treated to a Cargo remix of “Spin Me Round,” which makes for a pleasant trip into more house-oriented territory. There is a smooth driving piano that together with a simple but enjoyable beat offers a more polished outset for Ikio Ayaka’s vocals. Since I’m a big fan of the typical “piano house” of olde, I take the Cargo remix for what it is, and can look beyond the fact that it does not innovate nor surprise in any way.

Overall this album is definitely worth checking out for anyone remotely interested in club music. Especially if you’re not hardcore enough to hate anything other then “insert electronic underground subgenre of choice here.“ I liked getting to know Ikio Ayaka‘s take on electro. Maybe it is a prelude for things to come; I certainly hope so. It’s currently available at JapanFiles, which we told you guys about last month. Get downloading!

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