Like the finest spirits, ADR’s debut record—now remastered for a wider audience for the first time since its lowkey 2012 release—envelopes, engulfs, and enthralls. A calming anthology of chill-wave and electro-pop tunes, this eleven-track masterwork is both a feast for the senses and a balm for the restless soul.
Filipino actors are venerated like gods in these shores, which is why the more successful ones are coerced into being multi-hyphenates. Not surprisingly, a hit TV or film star is made to cut a pop or dance record on the side, and in some cases even headline an arena show, regardless of aptitude or real-world know-how.
Thankfully, Alessandra de Rossi is not cut from that mold, and—because of her dogged insistence to keep her music unsullied by showbusiness—has thus far been successful in resisting it. It was, in fact, this healthy dissociation that enabled her in 2012 to put out Adrift, a masterful collection of chill-wave and electro-pop tunes borne of a desire for escape and yearning for healing.
“I was around 22, I think, and all I wanted was to express my feelings and entertain myself,” De Rossi recalls, recounting how these songs first saw life as journal entries, then as GarageBand sketches, then, finally, a legitimate record that—for better or worse—has her emotional fingerprints all over it.
First released as a free ZIP download and SoundCloud stream in 2012, De Rossi made Adrift with friends TJ Montalbo and Veronica Deposoy, before enlisting the chops of arranger Dennis Catli, and later on, producer-engineer Pat Tirano of WombWorks to finish it off.
Now answering to the less conspicuous handle “ADR,” De Rossi has teamed up with Lilystars Records to reintroduce Adrift to a new generation of listeners. And chief in that process is having the recordings remastered by Chrisanthony Vinzons of Sonic State Audio, where Lilystars label head Clem Castro entrusts a lot of his own works.
“Ten years is a long time. I’m no longer scared of being judged,” – Alessandra de Rossi
For ADR, Adrift is, above all, a respite from all the villainy she was then projecting onscreen and, consequently, onto herself. “It wasn’t who I am,” she says, and it was amidst these frustrations that the record turned to being a balm for the restless soul: hers and possibly yours, if you welcome it.
“I was tired. And I couldn’t help but look forward to the next day, where I could go to the studio and do what I [wanted to] do. Adrift was my purpose; it was my release,” she adds.
One can indeed sense sweet relief in the material: it’s in the uplifting sheen of “Make It Better,” the head-bobbing invitation of “Disconcerting Ride,” even the sinister overtones of “Trigger Happy.” It’s in the reverb-drenched pipework, the economy of the beats, the tug-of-war of misery and assurance.
Adrift is neither afterthought nor hastily scrawled marginalia. It is an artist taking the reins while grappling with the unfamiliar.
Just as she was lulled by the calming waters of the music of Café del Mar and Hôtel Costes, ADR also wishes to take you—once again, after nine years of creative and personal growth—on a similar swim. And it’s a plunge worth taking, with detours to Mazzy Star and Massive Attack depths, between waves of lethargy and surrender.
“Ten years is a long time. I’m no longer scared of being judged,” she says.