Features / Review

John Tejada – The Predicting Machine

For the legions of neon clad, saucer eyed neophytes to the electronica movement, the ear-shattering four on the floor cacophony and its requisite desensitizing visual accompaniment are harbingers of the “next great thing.” With no apparent recognition that the phenomena is the product of a many-decade incubation in the vital cross-sustaining undergrounds of this fine nation and our limey cousins across the Atlantic, an entire generation has signed on to the notion that loud colors and heavy beats are the path to a new and lucid form of musical enlightenment.

Step back from the speakers. Replenish your body’s supply of serotonin. Behold the mighty parallax. What was a herd of Day-Glo buoys bobbing in a sea of enthusiastic troughs and crests is mirth, a great fog of apparent thoughtlessness where music falls into predictable if danceable ruts of rhythm and the slightest change in rhythm or introduction of clanking, metallic samples is greeted as a mind blowing departure.

Is there hope for us still? By God, yes. Out of the darkness comes a form. A great amorphous leviathan with metallic spikes, smooth, ever-changing profiles and an effervescent torch. John Tejada is back like some electronic statue of liberty calling out with his new LP The Predicting Machine to “give him your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.”

Grandiose allegory? Yes. But the strobing leads, meandering garnishes and fluid collection of rhythms that mark the Los Angeles based producer’s latest offering provide a welcome bit of illumination in a dreary world.

Tejada is no Deus Ex Machina, no deity set to suddenly appear and offer us deliverance. Quite the opposite. His pensive and often geometric assemblages of wave forms have been a prolific mainstay for fifteen years. Cerebral and eerie his music achieves through non-linear patterns and distinct production the feel of multiple sonic dimensions.

Where others construct songs that build in one direction only to rise and fall like a roller coaster, Tejada captures seeming chaos. Listen carefully to tracks like the peacefully dissonant “When All Around Is Madness” and you’ll hear a careful portrait of an explosion. Sounds and ideas collide and bounce off one another in a galactic waltz.

Standouts “Stabilizer” and the sticky “An Ounce of Perception” capture the sound of entropy as beats fall apart only to rebuild in shapes that are wholly new and compelling and hypnotically rhythmic.

The nuance of Tejada’s work sounds effortless yet is imbued with a sense of complexity that lends the listener more insight with each play. While The Predicting Machine garners worthy comparisons to the gliding work of Steve Roach or the messy, psychedelic wash of The Orb, Tejada’s meticulous craftsmanship create work that blends the ambient and the kinetic.

With “The Function and the Form” Tejada spins his predicting machine to a new height of elaboration. Pushy tempo and slow-erupting bass function as prisms through which immaculate synth lines bend and warp in a radiating pattern that moves the track ever outward.

It’s musical parable. Sonic wisdom where The Predicting Machine illustrates that with enough variables, every future is inevitably non-linear and predictable only on a massive horizon.

While not as sleek or ethereal as last year’s ParabolasThe Predicting Machine weighs in as a true heavy hitter. On every scale, from high concept to the most micro sonic pattern, Tejada weaves a complex bit of electronica that has both the pleasure of a finely crafted watch and the primal satisfaction of hitting that watch with a rubber mallet.

Out September 10, The Predicting Machine is the second release for Tejada on Germany’s Kompakt records.


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