Adra – Fear is the mind killer

A flurry of quirky synth sequences feeding off the steady pulse of a drum machine pulls the listener forward through the progression of Arrakis, the opening track from Adra’s debut on D.A.T records. There’s a recognisable inclination towards Techno’s roots, but the inaugural track misses out on the darker, more sinister element of the genre with a sunny upbeat disposition, resembling a chip-tune track and perhaps influenced by San Francisco where Arda currently finds herself. It’s something that might repel the more serious listener, but stick with it and the music will soon yield its rewards. This prelude to Fear is the mind killer, is not a true representation of what the EP holds at its core, two remarkable tracks, Chapterhouse and Kaitian, that embody the crucial elements of the Techno’s appeal. Summoning the influences of early Jeff Mills, these two mood altering tracks wallow in mystery, loitering around minimalist themes with sinister intent through the steady pulse of a 909 drum machine. The odd lazy legato string movement or growling reverb-drenched synth only adds to the suspense, drawing the invested listener further into the menacing underbelly of Adra’s subliminal music. The beat is persistent in the way of Techno’s early pioneers, but inhibited to accommodate modern down-tempo tastes, affectionally pulling the listener into a state of ominous reverie. Matrixxman’s remix of Chapterhouse disrupts the trance with a harder, more effective dance floor application of the track, but keeps the intriguing elements of the original quite rightly in their place. With the end of the EP in sight, Arrakis seems a completely different world away and we forget it ever existed in this context. Chapterhouse and Kaitain hold the appeal of the debut, and if this is the representation of what’s to come from Adra, we’ll be listening.