Although TEMMA-Teje is just twenty-one, he’s packed a lot into his nascent musical career, so far. Starting at just aged thirteen, he was writing songs for his band. By sixteen, his band were playing twice a week at various venues. He was guitarist and vocalist. Then his career progressed in different directions. Inspired by the music of Underworld, TEMMA-Teje started making music on his laptop. Having put his music on My Space, people all over the world, discovered his music. This lead to a career as remixer, remixing tracks by Dave Angel and Ken Ishii, Thopa, Hiroshi Wantanbe, Dublee and Sasaki Hiroki. These remixes have been critically acclaimed by his peers, as has his original work. So far, TEMMA-Teje has released three E.P.s, plus collaborating with Foog on an E.P, Dumb. His career as a remixer and artist runs parallel to a career as one of the hottest DJs in Tokyo, spinning his own brand of urban groove. Somehow, TEMME Teje has found time to record his debut album, Midget Lamps In the Dark, which will be released on 24th July 2012 on the Plaza In Crowd label. On Midget Lamps In the Dark, TEMMA-Teje’s fuses a variety of genres, with everything from folk, pop and rock to ambient, techno and house playing its part in the album’s sound. 

Into opens Midget Lamps In the Dark is Intro, a track which teases you, making you wonder the direction the track is heading. Just guitars that sound as if they belong in sixties surf track combine with drums, before stabs of synths enter. They combine, repeating the same rhythms and patterns, building and building. You’re always awaiting something different happening, the track breaking loose. That never happens. Instead. TEMMA-Teje, by using a variation on a theme,  teases and tantalizes, resulting in you hungrily awaiting the next track, to see which direction Midget Lamps In the Dark heads.

Straight away, when Littleorc begins, the track reminds you of an elegant, sometimes moody soundscape. TEMMA-Teje uses just synths, drums and bass as the track meanders into being. Washes of synths are key to the track, while slow, thoughtful keyboards drift in, accompanying the sometimes squelchy synths. Later, there’s even an Eastern influence when percussion is added. Then briefly, an almost haunting sound that emanates from the arrangement, bringing to mind eighties and nineties ambient tracks. However, by then, you’re drawn into the arrangement, succumbing to its gloriously, laid-back and elegant sound, which you want to hear much more of.

When Suici begins, you’re immediately struck by the dark, quite menacing side to the track. Brief bursts of ethereal vocals from a choir, scratches, spacey drums and stabs of synths combine. From the get-go, a darkness descends, becoming almost menacing. This is due to the synths, and slow drums. Repeatedly, TEEMA-Teje uses the same notes over and again, giving the track its dark, broody and menacing side. Later, the drums quicken, taking their sound from Detroit techno. They then become crisp, while scratches and effects offer a contrast. All this plays its part in this broody, moody and totally compelling, sound and success.

Quite different from the preceding track is Orb. Almost gone in the darkness of Suici. Instead, it’s replaced by a track where synths and percussion create a much lighter and compelling sounding track. Quickly, the track reveals its charms and secrets. When a keyboard enters solo enters, the mood lightens even more.  As you wonder where the track is heading, TEMMA-Teje adds pounding drums. They’re just the finishing touch the track needs. By fusing elements of folk, techno and ambient music, TEMMA-Teje has produced one of the highlights of Midget Lamps In the Dark.

It seems on Midget Lamps In the Dark, TEMMA-Teje sees to toy with darkness and light. On Fillis, the track has a dark, stabs of dark keyboards resonate, while a haunting voice adds to the menacing sound. Then when the pounding drums charge in, they’re like the cavalry to the rescue. They’re stopped in their tracks by synths and vocal samples. Once drums break free, with the synths and sinister sounding vocals this eight minute Magnus Opus takes shape. Although variously dark, moody and broody, it’s impossible not to be swept along by the track. For me,  it also allows TEMMA-Teje to reveal just how talented a composer, musician and producer he truly is, creating a glorious overture of beats, vocal samples and synths. Once you’ve heard the track you too will agree.

Fail sees TEEMA-Teje combine quick, pounding beats and synths to create a track that has a real old school sound. Complete with vinyl-like crackle he uses, synths, beats and percussion to drive the track along. Using techno as one of his reference points, he changes gears, hissing hi-hats joining the party. In doing so, he creates a track that’s totally irresistible, and rather than Fail as the title says, passes with credit.

Space is an apt title for a track, with TEEMA-Teje leaving space in between waves of music that surges powerfully. Bursts and stabs of synths, percussion and drums that almost punish your speakers are key to the track’s sound. It’s the type of track that would work really well in any club. As the arrangement gallops along, swathes of music reverberate, hanging dramatically in the ether. Hissing hi-hats join, contrasting the dark synths, while percussion and beefy drums are key to the track’s sound as success. Here, TEEMA-Tee pays a fitting homage to veterans of electronic music, including The Orb and his heroes Underworld.

Closing Midget Lamps In the Dark is Candy, where mellow, Eastern sounding percussion, melodic keyboards and pounding drums combine. The keyboards sound like what would happen if a harpsichord was played through an effects processor. Soon, the arrangement grows, with layers of keyboards, that remind me of Underworld, joining. Along with bursts of percussion, crashing cymbals and crisp drums that pound, the track is driven along. It heads on an intriguing and compelling musical journey. During that journey, Candy reveals so many surprises and subtleties, that it takes several times to discover them all. It’s well worth discovering these surprises and subtleties, that bring TEEMA-Teje’s debut album Midget Lamps In the Dark, to a close. 

TEEMA-Teje’s debut album Midget Lamps In the Dark is a intriguing series of eight compelling and mesmerizing soundscapes. During the album TEMMA-Teje fuses a variety of musical genres and influences. Everything from folk, pop and rock to ambient, techno and house plays its part in the album’s sound. During the album, TEMMA-Teje journey’s through darkness and light. On some tracks, the darkness descends, with the sound becoming moody and broody, sometimes, even menacing. Other times, the darkness lifts, with the light shining through, and the music becoming quite different. This is what makes Midget Lamps In the Dark such a compelling, intriguing and accomplished suite of soundscapes. What makes Midget Lamps In the Dark even more remarkable, is that this is his debut album, plus of course, his age. He’s only twenty-one years old, but having started his career aged thirteen, is something of a music veteran. If TEMMA-Teje is able to create such an accomplished album as Midget Lamps In the Dark, aged just twenty-one, then what will the a bight future awaits him, not just as an artist, but as a remixer and DJ. Once you’ve heard Midget Lamps In the Dark, which will released on 24th July 2012 on the Plaza In Crowd label I’m sure you’ll agree. Standout Tracks: Littleorc, Suici, Orb and Fail.



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