Let's be honest. When we heard that Ada's next release was going to be a mixtape, I know what your first words were, because they were mine: "Mixtape??? Where's the album?" After all, it's already been five years since Michaela Dippel's debut album of colorful Cologne techno and warm first-crush songcraft, Blondie. Maybe this stop-gap tape could have come out, oh I don't know, like two years ago? Sure, since Blondie's release, Ada's kicked off her career as a DJ and scattered a few more singles on Cereal/Killers, long-term base Areal and the imprint's sub-label, International Records Recordings. But for an artist who seemingly mastered the dreaded techno full-length right out of the gate, broader recorded statements have been sorely lacking in the interim.
These frustrations aside, the Kompakt-issued Adaptations Mixtape #1 is a compilation of new and unreleased material that's thankfully more than simply an effort in microwaving stale older dishes. Indeed, the album figures as a compelling assembly on its own, stitching together a few uncollected originals, some of Ada's better remixes and recombinations of her work by artists like DJ Koze, Tobias Thomas and Michael Mayer, and International Pony's Cosmic DJ.
Limbering up with Ada's starblind take on Tracey Thorn's "Grand Canyon," Adaptations negotiates its way through the guileless and the slightly headier. Ada's studio-companion Dee Pulse makes "Fizzmann" sound like Mario Bava house music, while Ada's electro-boogie take on Booka Shade's "Vertigo" is stubbier and more punchy. But it's in the heavy sway Ada puts into Brant and Mr. Roper's "Last Night I Dreamt that Somebody Loved Me" where Adaptations really stretches out, playing to her talents for underpinning tracks with a warmth and depth which sound both cozy and big-room boom. Through a long, warbling intro, Ada funnels its woozy central melody through passage after passage of subcurrents and slight sonic detours. It's six minutes with enough story for twenty, and it segues into the shy-child bell play of Thomas/Mayer's remix of Blondie's famed Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover, "Maps."
If "Maps" outlasts its welcome during the mix's belly section, Adaptations recovers by dimming the lights a bit. Still, even Ada's sad-eyed melancholy often feels, somehow, pretty glass-half-full. Her remix of Alex Smoke's "Never Want to See You Again" lightens the original's moody minimalism with a shimmery synth, before DJ Koze's excellent remix of Blondie-highlight "Eve" chops its drums into cluttered woodblock shapes. Ever the playful showman, Koze scatters its melody into seventy wind-strewn parts and patterns without sacrificing its forward motion.
For Ada completists and vinylphobes, Adaptations rounds out with both "Living It Up" and "Forty Winks," released on Areal and IRR respectively. If the former follows Ada's penchant for the warm-blooded, "Forty Winks" shows her maturation as a producer. It's long-day sleepy and ready to rest—a conservational take on her hyper-melodicism—bleeding deftly into the rainy-day softness of the lost Ada/Cosmic DJ duet version of "Our Blindhouse." As I said earlier, Adaptations ain't gonna sneak up on the unaware—this is most likely for those already under Ada's spell. But as we await her next full-length, slotted for early 2027, it's a welcome reminder of a talent we were damn close to giving up on.
Buy Ada - Adaptations Mixtape #1 at
Tracklist: Ada - Adaptations Mixtape #101. Tracey Thorn – Grand Canyon (Ada remix)
02. Ada - Fizzmann (Dee Pulse Remix)
03. Booka Shade – Vertigo vs. Cha (Ada Remix)
04. Brant feat. Mr. Roper – Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me (Ada Remix)
05. Ada – Maps (Thomas/Mayer Remix)
06. Alex Smoke – Never Want To See You Again (Ada Remix)
07. Ada – Eve (DJ Koze Mix)
08. Ada feat. Raz Ohara – Lovestoned
09. Andi Teichmann – Tape (Ada Mix)
10. Ada – Living It Up
11. Ada – Forty Winks
12. Ada feat. Cosmic DJ – Our Blindhouse (Each And Every One)
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