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ada / blondie / areal

Ada, aka M. Dippel, has released her debut LP Blondie on the up-and-coming Areal label. Besides releasing 12-inch tracks on Areal, Ada's "Blindhouse" appeared on Triple R's Friends mix. (A remixed vocal version is featured on Blondie.) Areal has been making waves as a new label offering clubby yet poppy and abstract tracks with Ada being one of their standout artists. Her album is a nice surprise, offering more than a few potential (abstract) club hits.

While so much techno released this year prior to Fall 2004 has been just more cookie-cutter set-fillers, Ada has managed to make a listenable album, with a variety of danceable tracks (i.e., she's not just obsessed with one type of beat/melody or track style). It's saying a lot, and may sound like an exaggeration, but she comes across very much like a mix between Ellen Allien and Michael Mayer: deep and emotive, with a pop sensibility that has a nice rockin' feel with well-placed female vocals, and without trying too hard. Some of the tracks have a groovin' German club disco feel, some are poppy and bouncy like Bpitch stuff but with a softer, deeper feeling.

Though I don't guess that this album was painstakingly produced (many sounds/parts on this album sound very 'familiar', either directly sampled or otherwise borrowed), no matter what (I personally don't care, I just dig the tracks), Ada's tracks still stand out for using these sounds in very unique ways and in unique arrangements. (Which should serve as a point of advice to the Techno Producer Boy's Club out there: It's not about being Mr. Glitchiest-of-the-year. It's more about showing that you have an 'ear' connected to your heart with whatever means you have at your disposal -- which is what Ada ends up doing.) At the end of the day, seven out of 10 tracks on this album would get me on the dancefloor, and for different reasons. Altogether this is a solid album. You'll hear a lot of this one while out this fall.      
listen: cool my fire (i'm burning)
listen: eve

khonnor / handwriting / type

Khonnor's Handwriting is the work of 17-year-old wunderkind Connor Kirby-Long who created this record in his bedroom with an old PC from the '80s, a free microphone that he acquired from a Spanish tutorial, and one single computer speaker. Khonnor takes his cues from shoegaze-era Creation records (especially Slowdive), Fennesz's Endless Summer and the Morr Music roster, and what he has created is unlike anything else around right now. A song will have a traditional start and then all of the sudden it is bombarded with beautiful digital noise (ala Fennesz). From there it will twist and turn into an acoustic ballad reminiscent of Bright Eyes' finest material, only seconds later to morph into a beautiful shoegaze anthem...and yes, it all works. Handwriting is an incredible debut and one that will introduce this emerging talent to the world -- and I say emerging because he is only 17.

Khonnor's lyrics are that of lost love, longing, confusion about the world, and everything else in between. At times they are quite naive but I have to say that it is definitely part of the charm. This album is a treasure filled with lush beautiful sounds and rich textures that will appeal to anyone that is a fan of the aforementioned artists, and music that wears its heart on its sleeve. Gorgeous!
listen: daylight and delight
listen: a little secret