John Tejada - Dead Start Program

by Justin Pearson Rating:7 Release Date:2018-02-09
John Tejada - Dead Start Program
John Tejada - Dead Start Program

There's a sense of careful study and intention on Dead Start Program, the latest album from house/techno producer John Tejada. The tracks here feel largely clinical, minus the emotional flourishes and sense of looseness that made 2015's Signs Under Test such an exciting listening experience. Overall, though, this doesn't work to its detriment, but rather focuses on the basics of the genre to remind one that house music isn't just for moving people on the dancefloor; it can also be stripped back to reveal an almost mathematical analysis within its structure of beats.

It kicks off with 'Autoseek', an irregularly timed conversion of two separate beats that swirl with resistance until joining in an ecstatic embrace and finding a mutual core that becomes the song's pulse about halfway through. Tejada doesn't just offer up an easy groove, but it's worth the wait when it finally locks itself in.

There's a drum 'n' bass breakbeat on 'Sleep Spindle', which is accompanied by an angelic synthesized choral element that gives it a haunting quality.

'Hypochondriac' is pure dance floor fodder, an evenly paced, bass-thumping track that sounds like it could have come from a 90's rave. Similarly, 'The Looping Generation' calls to mind 90's techno innovators Orbital.

There are some other interesting touches here also, like the warped, druggy sound of 'Telemetry' or the seasick bouyancy of 'All At Sea.' Both stand out as originals while still maintaining the heart of what Tejada does well as an electronic musician, which is the elevation of a music form often tossed aside as not worth listening to other than background noise. Instead, he foregrounds it by highlighting the lift inherent in this type of music by spelling it out clearly, not letting it get lost in the haze that a lot of house/techno tends to become.

Dead Start Program isn't a big leap forward, it's simply a reminder that this kind of music is alive and well, and in the hands of an artist like John Tejada its staying power should be pretty strong.

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