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  • Filed under: Review
  • 03/23/2012

John Tejada & Justin Maxwell Our Gigantic Mistake EP

After nearly two decades entrenched in the techno world's top tiers, LA-based producer John Tejada has amassed an eclectic catalog, one that includes more than his fair share of dancefloor smashes, with tunes like "Sweat (On the Walls)" moving beyond techno and permeating the larger dance-music consciousness. Unfortunately, Our Gigantic Mistake doesn't contain one of these groundbreaking future classics, and, to be frank, it doesn't measure up to Tejada's previous works with Justin Maxwell, namely 2004's Madness and the pair's most recent collaboration, last year's Not That, But This EP. Nonetheless, Our Gigantic Mistake boasts the archetypal flawless production and flashes of brilliance we've come to expect from John Tejada, who released the EP on his own Palette Recordings.

The record's opening number and title track, "Our Gigantic Mistake," feels more like an introduction to the EP rather than a full-fledged dance effort. The sounds used by Tejada and Maxwell are interesting and well-crafted, especially the vibrating bass and screeching modular synth lines that show off his mastery of patch creation. The whole composition would be a treat to witness as part of a live hardware set, but as a recorded piece, it seems lacking. The noises are individually intriguing, but the song's varied elements never coalesce into much of a groove, preventing the track from becoming fully captivating. The drum pattern is exceptionally simple, a common trait in Tejada's compositions, but without more driving elements in the synthesizer work, the kick-snare beat feels a touch too rudimentary, as if it were dragging down the tempo.

On the EP's second tune, Tejada and Maxwell move into acid territory, delivering a repetitive bassline that emulates the Roland TB-303's signature sound. The song, "Whoops (There It Is)," is driving and dark, with synth chirps fading in and out as the song builds and releases. Again, the production quality is flawless, but the song as a whole lacks a creative aspect to set it apart from other tunes of the same variety, with its most interesting element being an almost-constant beep reminiscent of the sound made by a reversing truck.

As it turns out, "Where Is the Cable?," the EP's final track, is also its highlight, making the other two feel like warm-ups for the finale. The bassline is simple, and is matched by an identical mid-range synth line a few octaves up. As the song continues, Tejada and Maxwell bring in what sounds like a palm-muted guitar that jams along, plucking at oddly pitch-bent notes. On a record full of superb noises, this guitar part is the most interesting, and it proceeds to fade in and out across the entirety of the production. The song climaxes with the inclusion of off-beat chords that play with the track's other rhythmic sounds, as well as atmospheric elements that help to establish tension and then release it.

Our Gigantic Mistake is a decent effort from an established production team, but ultimately fails to distinguish itself. Part of this may be due to the fact that John Tejada's work has so dramatically influenced the techno genre that setting himself apart from other producers is becoming a Sisyphean task. However, with what seems to be a neverending outpouring of new releases, Tejada will surely strike gold again, just not with this particular EP.

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