Although based around the core duo of Alex Rizzo (b. England) and Elliot Ireland, Ikon involves at least another eight collaborators and was recorded in seven different countries over a period of six years. Rizzo and Ireland recruited musicians Duncan Bridgeman (flute) and Peter Martin (bass) plus peripatetic singers Valerie Étienne (ex-Galliano), Alison David (Black Science Orchestra), Pat Cerqueira, Sol Ruiz de Galaretta and Alison Limerick to the project. Former Opus III singer Kirsty Hawkshaw, meanwhile, added her voice to ‘Calling You’, a cover version of the Jevetta Steele song. Ironically, however, the track which genuinely justifies Ikon’s existence hangs around a voice sampled from an old 7-inch record (rather than an actual physical collaborator): issued as a limited single ahead of the album’s release (and frequently appearing on chill out compilations), ‘The Dove’ lifted heavily from ‘Non È Facile Avere 18 Anni’ by Rita Pavone, a celebrated Italian singer. The down-tempo track seemed to strike the right balance between whimsy and grandiosity with Pavone’s voice adding a sense of dislocation and intrigue, where elsewhere Ikon could occasionally lapse into slight insipidity. Rizzo and Ireland have recorded as Da Muttz, Skeewiff, Shaft, 10K and Beuna Vista and, as Al & El Productions, originated UK television themes for The Big Breakfast, Ainsley Harriott, and The Lily Savage Show. The duo also curate the Jalapeno and Illegal Beats labels, releasing breakbeat, break funk, funk, rap, hip-hop and ‘left of centre material’ (including Wicked Lestor and Craak And Smaak) via the former and house club tracks via the latter.

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