CHOICE CUT – John Tejada ‘Parabolas’


John Tejada / Parabolas

CD / Vinyl / Digital 

Kompakt / Released June 2011

There have been more than a few people waiting on this. And plenty of hype to boot, not least on these pages, where reports were excitedly pieced together within seconds of the U.S.-German pact being announced.

Thankfully John Tejada’s first outing on the much-loved Kompakt doesn’t disappoint, or show us up to be fools blinded by brands and familiar faced stars. What it does is reveal a flexibility inherent in the label’s sound (though if you didn’t already know about that it’s perhaps more a sign of your own head being buried in the sand rather than the imprint’s narrow minded music policy). It also displays the producer’s status as audio auteur- an artist that can be recognised stylistically before we’re told who is responsible for the work, regardless of circumstance or genre.

So, it’s a little bit Logic Memory Centre, Tejada’s album of 2004, what with calm moments of near downtempo electronica offering surprisingly weighty low ends while dirty little grooves take us by surprise. Then there’s more than a hint of the melodic but dancefloor focused techy B-sides we’re used to on his own Palette Recordings (Liquid, for example), and, of course, it’s not hard to notice a certain amount of Unstable Condition. That 12″ preceded this collection, represented his first work for Kompakt, and was a filthy, bumbling, bass-reliant acidic workout that nods towards the producer’s work with Arian Leviste as much as anything else. But what about the rest?

Well it’s wonderful to say, hand on heart, that the quality doesn’t let up away from the lead single. Opener Farther And Fainter gives off warm, dubby house vibes with its first four kicks, and proceeds from there to expand into a hypnotic brew of looped keys and soft percussion. Mechanized World offers up a complex track of plink plonk notes set to a staggering house beat, complete with filtered futurist melodic accents.  And, elsewhere, a kind of clanking, breakbeat euphoria is brought on by The Mess And The Magic, a workout of metallic noises and subtle key changes that’s no less pleasing than that description suggests, only probably with more bite and flow.

The list of reasons to buy could go on. Uncertain End’s 16bit funk will appeal to anyone that appreciates early Matthew Herbert, whereas A Flexible Plan provides a harmony of high pitched chimes set to low slung analogue tones and a detailed, distorted piano refrain. To put things simply, there’s very little here that doesn’t showcase, and fit with, Tejada’s staggeringly varied catalogue of worthwhile work. At the same time, Kompakt continues to prove why it has the enviable reputation it does, adding another quality release to the pile marked ‘every once in a while we bring something to you that must be bought’. Few could have asked for more.