For two decades, John Tejada quietly ascended the experimental fringes of techno, building tracks with a care for sonic detail that could either be picked apart conceptually or totally surrendered to on a packed floor. Deeply respected in the brainier corners of the genre and a consistent chart-topper at the online techno retailer Beatport, the Van Nuys-based Tejada has watched dance music explode across the L.A. club and festival scenes after years in a genre ghetto.
In today's Calendar, I profiled the local electronica duo Rainbow Arabia, which has long soldiered on the Eastside experimental fringes before getting a major leg up with a deal from Germany's Kompakt Records. Rainbow Arabia's full-length debut, "Boys & Diamonds," is its strongest yet by a landslide, rife with percussive exotica and some of its snappiest pop melodies yet. It might even allow Danny and Tiffany Preston to quit their day jobs, which in Danny's case, is strangely apropos to their music. Read the whole piece here, and catch them at the Echoplex tonight.
-- August Brown
The L.A. production duo and walking typo-bait Nguzunguzu has been cranking out a string of increasingly ambitious remixes and mixtapes of late. A typical track makes a mangle of tribal drums and bleary synths and stretches it out into a crescendo that flails at the ledge of danceable but doesn't fall over.
And lo, does the newly Kompakt-approved local duo Rainbow Arabia get the treament here. Nguzunguzu, which has served as M.I.A.'s tour DJs, takes the drum-patter heart of "Without You" and splays it out with house-inspired vocal echoes, more drums, a madcap marimba, more drums, pitch-shifted vocals and, yep, even more drums. You know some scientists want to combat global warming with artificial robot trees? This sounds like a jungle of them.
-- August Brown
Though the band's MySpace page claims a home base in Echo Park, the music of Rainbow Arabia exists outside the constraints of regionalism. The Internet Age is a strange, tropical-feathered beast. Climate and close quarters can still breed a specific sound (see the Low End Theory beatmakers, the early years of dubstep in London, the lo-fi sound incubated at the Smell), but the next generation of musicians is as equally likely to pull inspirations from a previously unobtainable collection of funk 45s culled from attics across the globe, or obscure Zambian psychedelia, or (far too often) Animal Collective.
Ergo the polyglot funk of Rainbow Arabia, which takes a smorgasbord approach to music -- this potentially explains the excellence of its "Dark and Dumb" remix of "Sequenced" by Swedish minimal tech master the Field. Obsessed with the impeccable Sublime Frequencies label, Rainbow Arabia is apt to incorporate Lebanese synthesizers, Iranian pop, Arabic surf guitar, with maybe a few African hand drums thrown into the mix. The end result is one of the most fun and interesting bands in town and a perfect match alongside tropical punk purveyors Abe Vigoda.
Rainbow Arabia take the stage at the Echo tonight at 11, for the penultimate performance of its June residency -- followed by the punk rockers who took their name from the actor who played Sal Tessio in "The Godfather." Free admission, but bringing your own oud is recommended.
-- Jeff Weiss
MP3: Rainbow Arabia -- "Rainbow Arabia Remixes" (Left-Click)