- "Hashtag. Get online. Hashtag. O-M-G." The voice on Nabihah Iqbal's Ninja Tune debut should sound familiar to astute listeners—it's her own, the same voice that deadpanned and cooed on SOPHIE's "Lemonade." "House of Silk," then, could be a counterpart to her work with SOPHIE, taking on Internet culture head-first. But the song's spoken word, meant to "symbolize the relentlessness with which the Internet now dictates our lives," repeats select terms ad infinitum, as if merely stating Internet-related words amounted to some sort of commentary. It's cringe-worthy, to be blunt, and the production behind the vocals sounds like Throwing Shade by numbers.
Iqbal's established sound is pleasant if nothing else, mixing glassy chords with warm basslines and rich synth sweeps. The rest of House Of Silk settles into a comfortable niche with those elements, serving as a summary of what we already know she can do. "Marble Air" and "Fear Of Silence" are among her plushest tracks. The former is particularly arresting, a twilight cruise full of gently caressing keyboards. They're both fine efforts, but predictable all the same.
House Of Silk's general flatness is underlined by the other two tracks. "Ecco Echo" is a slow broken-beat number that hobbles aimlessly, while "Underneath My Eyelids" is a pretty but unsubstantial lullaby to end the record. Iqbal's most prominent release so far largely reiterates her previous work, and when she sticks her neck out, the results are bad. Glimmers of brilliance shine through on the EP's best moments, but otherwise Iqbal's often exciting vision sounds clouded.
01 Hashtag IRL
02 Marble Air
03 Ecco Echo
04 Fear Of Silence
05 Underneath My Eyelids