Friday 29 March 2024

'The Healing' by Oriana Ikomo

It should be no secret that Sdban Records has a unique ability to discover not just innovative new Belgian talent but artists with a very distinct and clear sound and message within their music.  Even just assessing the label's recent output from the sensational sonic soundscapes of KAU's 'The Cycle Repeats' that draws from a fascinating well of musical ideas including spiritual jazz, hip-hop and broken beat or the all-encompassing sounds of Azmari's 'Maelstr​รถ​m' which revels within a unique Ethiopian aesthetic to its music with traces of psychedelia, dub and afrobeat intertwined as well.

With the label now identifying those same qualities of creativity and imagination in Oriana Ikomo, we are subsequently introduced to the singer-songwriter's new EP release, 'The Healing'.  Serving as an extension to her independently-released 'The Love I Had' (2022), Ikomo laid the foundation for her sparse and intricate depiction of contemporary R&B and soul that presented such inspired new perspectives that would ultimately bring her to the attention of Sdban.  'The Love I Had' proved to be an all-round excellent introductory project but in particular we wholeheartedly recommend catching the spine-tingling rendition of the time honoured masterpiece that is 'Afro Blue'.  Sensational.

With 'The Healing', Ikomo elegantly explores themes of identity, self-confidence and addresses her own insecurities over the course of the EP's five tracks.  With excellent and fairly intuitive production that at the right times knows when to provide space like with EP opener 'Kindness' and when to help propel the music forward as in the infectious and rousing project highlight, 'Imma Pleaser'. 

'The Healing' proves to be a multi-layered and nuanced project that further solidifies Oriana Ikomo as a self-assured artist incredibly focused and in control of her music and its underlying message.  Her boundless talents have resulted in another incredibly worthy addition to the Sdban archives - hopefully the first of many more bearing Oriana Ikomo's name.

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