Ironically, if there is a criticism, a lingering doubt about Tejada, it is quite the opposite: that his work lacks soul. In its perfection, some argue, it is all surface. That is a misconception, which, by the time The Predicting Machine peaks—in the glorious, string-led "Stabilizer," a Detroit techno take on disco, or the wistful, Border Community-style bedroom trance of "Glaringly Happy"—you will have shrugged it off, but you can see how it comes about. The empty sonic gymnastics of "A Familiar Mood" sound like something a hi-fi shop might use to demonstrate a system's clarity and range. Suddenly, Tejada's explanation, on the press sheet, that this album was inspired by his use of modular synths, seems worrying. Has this most technical of producers side-lined raw feeling for professorial studio tinkering?
But again, such doubts fall away. The other potential misgiving that you won't hear anything new here is also resolved: you won't. The Predicting Machine sounds more like a homage to various styles, from the naive, exploratory ambient works of Radioactivity-era Kraftwerk ("Radio Channel"), to the whimsical homespun techno of label-mate Superpitcher ("Orbiter"). On "An Ounce of Perception," a galloping electronic romp a la Moroder or Jarre, what sounds like a vinyl scratch clicks in the background. Is this an in-joke, an acknowledgement of this album's vintage provenance? Such mimicry would get old fast, were Tejada not sincere and skilful, but the arrangements, production and song craft are all accomplished. In a world of grid-mapped laptop productions, differentiated by minor acts of sonic surgery, it reasserts the power of melody. Is that a revelation? No. Is it a welcome reminder? Yes.