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Daydreams In Cold Weather

John Tejada
Daydreams In Cold Weather
(Plug Research)

With over 50 releases to date (including single, EPs, and albums), John Tejada is definitely a busy artist. Having released everything from chill-out music to dancefloor-ready staples that band with the influences of early Detroit techno, he's honed in on a fairly particular style on Daydreams In Cold Weather and rolls with it. Like the teddy bears on the cover of the release, the 12 tracks on this release are warm and friendly sounding for electronic music. Simple melodies layer and interchange with one another while interesting rhythms keep things moving.

"To The West" opens up the disc and it sets the stage with a mid-tempo beat and plenty of intertwining melodies that are constructed of friendly sounds and gently embrance one another before passing on their seperate ways. Taken apart loop by loop, nothing is so elaborate that it couldn't have been played by someone just starting, but put together they almost have a hypnotic effect in their simplicity. "Stop The Mechanism" cranks up the BPM quite a bit and adds some 'oomph' to the beats, taking on sort of a hard-edged electro feel, while once again the happy scale-stepping melodies bob and weave in their human ways.

That last point is one that's probably a big reason Daydreams In Cold Weather has the appeal that it does. Although listeners of more complex electronic music may be somewhat put off by the relative simplicity of the sounds on the release, there's something about how Tejada progresses things at an almost human speed that gives it a more immediate quality. While others in the genre are chopping and processing everything to points at which the mind can barely process fast enough, the simple little melodies in most of the tracks on this disc feel like something you'd hum to yourself when you're driving in your car or walking down the street. Granted, there are tracks where Tejada uses a bit more digital trickery, as on the cut-up hip-hop beats and squiggles of glitch on "Summer Rain." Even in that track, though, the focus is on the subtle melody at the heart of the track, while most of the other flourishes are just icing.

While the melodies are simple, the other thing that Tejada is amazing at is beat programming and rhythm construction. There's always something different going on, whether it's the warm ambience of "In Coach," the cranked-up "Rehearsing Disaster," or the downtempo groove of "The Silence Of Us." It's actually this last track that is a bit of a mis-step on the release, as it features vocals of Mo Wax artist Divine Styler and the vocals (although they are done in a fairly subtle way) still feel slightly out-of-place in an album filled with light melodies. In some ways, the sounds on the disc remind me of the some of the early Warp recordings, with a more organic (human) touch. Breezy. A nice little electronic album for the summer.

Rating: 7