Ada, Forty Winks/Kink-A-Jou

[International Records Recordings]

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Michaela Dippel (aka Ada) likes to say she was raised by pink ponies, fashioned herself as pseudo-vampire, and had a blond pup named Fizzmann. If you pay close attention, these are all selling points for her music. Ada is part of Areal, a label which dabbles in large amounts of distorted fuzz, songs that double as dance tracks and a surreal PR department. From her first single “Blindhouse,” Ada has stood out as the label’s devout populist. Her tracks are hyper-saturated with melodies, full of synths that alternate as down-pillows or stun-guns. Paired with her singing voice, it’s easy to interpret Ada as Areal’s softer, warmer (and *ahem* feminine) side. But Ada’s disinterest in hiding her music in Areal’s characteristic faux-grit makes her records age better than most of her label peers’.

Ada’s latest single arrives on Areal’s new sub-label International Records Recordings. IRR might be the most banal name in techno, but the label’s output from John Daly and DJ Koze has been anything but ordinary. Ada’s contribution is just as bizarre, despite a B-side, “Kink-a-Jou,” which is just pleasant enough — the track’s drums shimmy as the melody dissipates into the mist. The standout, though is “Forty Winks.” The A-side is broken into three parts, each less dance-worthy than the last. Pared down to a muffled breakbeat, organ drone and a plaintive guitar, “Forty Winks” is decidedly quiet. It stumbles completely away from Ada’s melody-drenched sweet-spot and in the process becomes more sensitive and affecting. Stretched around a confetti of guitar strums, “Forty Winks”‘ tone is a sleepwalk’s mixture of tugged heart-strings and placidity. The hackneyed phrase “Forty Winks” might suggest a track to nap to, but “Forty Winks” is the first worthy soundtrack to Ada’s pink ponies and vampire daydreams.

eric cloutier  on December 8, 2008 at 1:34 PM

But Ada’s disinterest in hiding her music in Areal’s characteristic faux-grit makes her records age better than most of her label peers’

can’t agree with you more here. areal records bore me to tears and they sound so stupid after half a listen.

james kartsaklis  on December 8, 2008 at 3:17 PM

i like weird records, and areal puts out extremely weird records. a few of their recent offerings (henneberg’s winter dump / milk effect and lexy’s the last days of the glow worms) provide serious party sounds while maintaining the – i can’t find another way to put it – weird aesthetic of the label. that these records come from (apparent) newcomers to the label may have something to do with the quality of the releases, but even some of the older metope and basteroid cuts hold up over time (in my humble opinion).

hutlock  on December 8, 2008 at 7:15 PM

I agree with James in that there is still good stuff on Areal that holds up… but Ada has always been the best of that stuff, and its not really close either. I also like that weirdness, but sometimes I wonder if its just done for the sake of being weird, ya know?

eric cloutier  on December 9, 2008 at 7:06 AM

the only two areal records i still own and haven’t sold due to boredom are metope’s “noforce / darkslide” and the remix ep of basteroid’s “against luftwiderstand,” simply for the disgustingly funky weltzwei remix (that i haven’t played in about four years).

Chris  on December 21, 2008 at 2:38 PM


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