Thursday, June 12, 2008

John Tejada Where

John Tejada’s new album, Where, is his eleventh, and the fiftieth release on his Palette label. The LA based musician has been producing music for over fifteen years and his label was founded in 1996. The beauty of Tejada’s work is that he tips his hat to Orbital, Carl Craig, Derrick May, and Hardfloor, amongst others and doesn’t just adhere to a narrow techno sub-genre, as is currently the norm. These influences are clearly evident in his tough but melodic productions and because of these, and his vision, Tejada’s music has a timeless quality.

An example of this is “La Mer;” the closing track of Where, which is a beautiful, modern acid tune; a sound capsule, built from an alloy of Phuture and Robert Armani, gliding effortlessly into aquatic segments that hint at The Black Dog. It is inexorable, alluring in its repetition, and possessed of the robotic beauty that informs every track on this record. On Track five, “Desire,” Tejada places the ghostly but soulful vocals of singer Nicolette over 808 bass drums, and then takes the beats out until halfway through the track when they kick in again and shunt her spectral voice over a dais of bleeps and lush, electronic strings.

“Turning Point,” is comprised of clanking melodies, glassy keys, and an impossibly tough bassline, making it the epitome of abstract dance music. Ditto for “Raindrops;” a lush but electric prayer to an opening sky that is obviously brand new but could have been the b-side of a long lost release on the Retroactive label. It dashes, thuds and throbs through hazy textures until steely, luxated chords scatter its virtual precipitation. “Pivot” rolls around like a rubber box full of metal balls, its chunky but hollow square wave bass conspiring with airy strings, fidgety melodies and what sounds like molten steel spittle pinging off a shiny spittoon until spooky synths join the cartoon ensemble to create the soundtrack for a club where Deunan Knute works as security and Aeon Flux is the dj.

These five tracks, -- and there are five more to languish in -- from Where, show that not only has John Tejada paid close attention to the electronic music that has gone before but he is very capable of adding his own nuances, and when these talents are fused the result is a rich, electronic sound so graceful and melodic that it soars above the majority of techno tracks out there at the moment. This album will work equally well on a crowded dance floor at 4 AM as it will in headphones on a crowded street at 4 PM or on a sparsely populated sofa at midnight. And there’s double vinyl on this baby too! Oh yeah!!


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