Techno minimalist John Tejada explores suburban L.A. in new ‘Lakewood Drive’ video


The Los Angeles-based electronic producer John Tejada has been creating meticulously crafted beats and remixes for nearly two decades, and has done so while exploring a brand of rhythm-based minimalism that draws on Detroit- and Berlin-style techno to propel underground dance floors.

For the past five years Tejada has been aligned with the German imprint Kompakt, and his new release for the label, out Friday, is a three-song EP called “Lakewood Drive” that couples relentless thump with shards of melody. The artist, who has issued more than 80 EPs and albums since the mid-’90s, also released a new video for the title track, one with edits that move in lockstep with the beat.


Directed by Clement Oberto, the video travels through a kind of invisible Los Angeles. As Tejada’s track moves with a conveyor-belt momentum, wobbly synth blurts and curlicue melodies, the director ignores the famous views -- sun-washed scenes of Malibu, the Hollywood sign or ritzy Rodeo Drive -- in favor of more humble sites.

He trains his lens on the beige residential apartment buildings that consume acre after acre, on hills littered with under-imagined architecture and streets notable more for the telephone poles than the palm trees. Where are we? Is this Atwater Village? Frogtown? Boyle Heights? Did we get lost in Reseda? Inglewood? (In fact, according to Oberto in an email, it’s shot from his balcony on Monterey Hill and atop Elephant Hill and Mt. Washington.)

Oberto is a French expat living in Los Angeles, and he seems to be offering a message to outsiders, illuminating the vast swaths of property that consume Southern California on the other side of the Hollywood facade.

This is the second collaboration between Tejada and Oberto. The short film “One Step,” above, is set in a barren Southern California desert and enlivened with fever-dream colors, washed-out light, plumes of colored smoke and a sensual, ambient score by Tejada.

Tejada’s new EP is available now.



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