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John Tejada

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Biography

Born the son of a Vienna composer/conservatory teacher and an opera-singer mother, John Tejada is a classically trained techno changeling. Since debuting in the mid-'90s, he's racked up an impressive, acclaimed catalog of albums, singles, and DJ mixes ranging from minimal techno to melodic IDM/glitch, as well as electro and hip-hop, including collaborations with legendary MC Divine Styler. In addition, he's released several albums of downtempo post-rock as one-half of the duo I'm Not a Gun. He's also highly prolific as a remixer, with clients including the Postal Service ("Such Great Heights"), Télépopmusik, Kevin Saunderson, and many others. Raised in Los Angeles, Tejada played piano and drums as a child, then began listening to hip-hop and electro, beginning his DJ career by playing out in those styles. After hearing the Detroit techno blueprints courtesy of recordings by Juan Atkins and Derrick May, Tejada began producing. During 1996 alone he recorded two singles for A13 Records (as Lucid Dream) and an EP for Electric Ladyland (as Autodidact). Early the following year, his debut Lucid Dream album, Pure Punk, appeared, followed by a single for Plug Research as Mr. Hazeltine. After the 1997 Plug Research & Development compilation earned kudos around the home-listening techno community, Tejada formed his own label, Palette Records; collaborated with Joe Babylon of Plug Research and Allen Avanessian as Frankie Carbone; and recorded on his own for Organised Noise, Ferox, and 7th City. His first album, Little Green Lights and Four Inch Faders, appeared in 1998 on A13 Records. The downtempo album The Matrix of Us followed on deFocus in 2000. Backstock, a continuously mixed wrap-up of his Palette label recordings, was released in 2001, and his third full production LP -- Daydreams in Cold Weather -- followed one year later on Plug Research. From that point, Tejada kicked his release schedule into an even higher gear, especially when it came to full-length projects. He collaborated on a series of albums with Arian Leviste: Fairfax Sake (Playhouse, 2003), The Dot and the Line (Moods & Grooves, 2004), and Back for Basics (Palette, 2005). There were the solo discs The Toiling of Idle Hands (Immigrant, 2003), Logic Memory Center (Plug Research, 2004), Cleaning Sounds Is a Filthy Business (Palette, 2006), and Where (Palette, 2008). As part of I'm Not a Gun, an instrumental rock duo in collaboration with Takeshi Nishimoto, Tejada produced four albums for City Centre Offices and one for Palette. In 2008, he mixed the 44th volume of the Fabric series and released Where on Palette. He also issued two volumes of Recovered Data (a series of early material) under his own name, as well as Recovered Data '95 as Lucid Dream. In 2011, Tejada signed to the legendary German techno label Kompakt, a natural home for his brand of tuneful, intricate techno. Following the Unstable Condition EP, the full-length Parabolas arrived in June. The Predicting Machine followed in 2012, with several non-album singles appearing afterwards. Signs Under Test, Tejada's third album for Kompakt, was released in 2015. Several more singles for Kompakt, Palette, and Residual Recordings followed, and in 2016 Tejada began collaborating with Tin Man for a series of acid techno EPs on Acid Test. Tejada's fourth Kompakt full-length, Dead Start Program, featuring cover artwork by Silent Servant, was released in 2018. ~ John Bush & Paul Simpson
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