John Tejada: Where

Tejada brings ample personality to what might be classified a ten-track minimal techno outing. Where, Palette Recordings' fiftieth release as well as his eleventh full-length, is anything but faceless as the seasoned producer invests the springy material with ample imagination. Tejada, whose subtly pulsating tracks are refreshingly nimble and bright throughout, makes it all seem easy and he's got the smarts to bring Nicolette aboard too. The former Massive Attack and Plaid contributor lends her supple vocal talents to the trance-house beauty “Desire” which Tejada winds taut for three minutes before dropping the beats into formation. Though its staggered keyboards give it an undeniable house feel, the lithe “Raindrops” (arguably the album's other peak) resurrects the buoyant beats Kraftwerk used in Computer World oh so many years ago, and the tune's clanging melody could be heard as a nod to Düsseldorf's finest too.

Elsewhere, the swizzling synth patterning in “Feel It,” “Moogbits,” and “Pivot” calls to mind equally head-spinning tracks previously issued by Daniel Bell and Cristian Vogel. “Turning Point” works a beautiful electro-house groove that's as perfect for the club as the living room, “Torque” slips a smidgen of acid into its tight, hand-clapping funk, and “Labyrinth” takes on all comers with a royally stoked house groove that's hot-wired and impossibly funky to boot. What sounds like samples of 2001's Hal 2000 shutting down surface in “Feel It” but the tune's jaunty swing—like Where in general—sounds anything but exhausted.

July 2008