Though Hexagon Cloud is her first major solo work, Erika is anything but a newcomer. An accomplished DJ and longtime radio host, she has over a decade of experience in electronic music. She also has quite a studio; the LP was composed entirely on her array of analogue equipment, fostering a deep freeze feel á la Dopplereffekt. But Erika's music has a rare emotional depth as well—her careful use of reverb makes the scope unusually wide, rendering Hexagon Cloud all the lonelier. She has a way of making the hard analogue shapes feel malleable and liquid, too: the melody lines on "North Hex" are sinuous and loose, while the basslines on "No. 3" feel as if they could pop off the rails at any moment.
Electro can sometimes be fairly cookie-cutter, but Erika bucks the template more often than she embraces it. Lacking the textural tunnel-vision of her forebears, tracks like "Gardners" and "Tow Ride" are made from discrete moving parts; the basslines are almost too big for the brittle structures they support, creating a bottom-heavy heft that sounds like it could upturn the whole thing. The beatless "Early Warning Starfield" channels the sound of flying saucers bearing down on your head for a relentless three minutes, while "Tunneling" feels like it's slowly creeping up on you, step after careful step—the complete opposite of electro's more typical charge.
It's only the "The Awakening," with its rough-seas bassline and twinkling alarm synths cribbed from early Drexciya, that engages with Detroit electro in a direct and referential manner. Everywhere else, Erika presents an individual spin on a genre obsessed with its own history, one indigenous to her hometown. Gently updating the sound, Hexagon Cloud reads like a love letter to the electro of days past, written by someone who knows it inside out.