John Tejada

Dead Start Program

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John Tejada's fourth full-length for Kompakt is a succinct, incredibly focused album of complex, melodic techno tracks. Essentially, the same can be said about most of the dozen or so albums he's released since the '90s, but given how prolific the artist has always been, it's truly remarkable that he's maintained such a high level of creativity and originality, sounding fresh and inspired every time out. All 11 selections on Dead Start Program are upbeat and vibrant, and despite being instrumental, they seem like songs as much as tracks. Much of it brings to mind 808 State and LFO at their most cheerful, and even when there's a hint of suspense, it never seems truly dark or sinister. Tracks like "Autoseek" and the slower, almost waltz-like "Loss" have intricate, slightly tricky rhythmic sequences, but they're still easy to follow and enjoy. Tracks like "Hypochondriac" and the playfully catchy "Detector" are steady, sweaty tech-house, with far too much feverish emotion for them to be mistaken for minimal techno. Other numbers venture into electro, such as the cinematic, breakbeat-driven "Sleep Spindle" or the Drexciyan thumper "All at Sea." "The Looping Generation" is sparkling, chipper techno with acid squiggles, sounding like a more accessible, home listening variant on the Acid Test 12"s that Tejada has recorded with Tin Man. "Duty Cycle" has a bouncy, snapping beat and a vaguely trancey melody, and would've fit perfectly on one of Orbital's later albums. Rarely does any track exceed five minutes, so there are no lengthy buildups, or ideas repeated for longer than needed. The album almost ends up being too short, but that's hardly a problem, especially since there are so many other equally worthwhile Tejada releases available, and this one undoubtedly won't be the last.

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