TheLetterElectronic Music Guide

Arad - Particles And Waves
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Anyone familiar with the blistering Techno from Irish duo Lakker or anything by The Black Dog, will appreciate Particles And Waves, the debut album from Arad, aka Dara Smith, one half of Lakker (along with Ian McDonnell from Eomac). It follows Haon, a well received EP which was released late last year.

Your immediate attention is required from the first beat of the thundering, almost tribal, rhythm on opener Planet Hunter, arguably the best track on the album, with its high speed compressed steel drums and shimmering synths. Focus is then diverted sharp left with the mystical-sounding Yarums Knee, think Led Zep's Kashmir underpinned with a throbbing 4x4 Techno beat and you're looking in the right direction. The fierce pace continues with Milk And Shudder, a composition, built on some clever drum programming, that proffers chopped-up beats embellished with sinister sounds. The spooky theme is maintained on central track P=W, its wonky, tuneless melody, highlighting Smith's fascination with sound design, recalling the more challenging aspects of Aphex Twin's oeuvre. In contrast, Lambay is Ambient Techno at its best and offers reassuring, albeit temporary, respite before the robust Sliding Ladders blasts away any lingering melancholy. Slowed Focus, could be my favourite track, a stripped back mantra based on a dogged rhythm and a meandering melody (becomes rather addictive after a few listens). Waveswimmer closes things out nicely with its optimistic ambience rendered by sweet cascading synth notes.

His name may be spelt backwards but this music is forwards.

7/10 after 9 listens

Album is out on Monday 28th March, and the lovely looking vinyl is only available through Speedy J's Electric Deluxe imprint.


Here's the video for P=W, produced by Smith himself

Arad - Particles And Waves