What do you get when you pair a veteran tech-house producer lauded for his sinewy rhythms and meticulously engineered grooves with a charismatic vocalist, consummate improviser and late-night TV bandleader? Jubilant uptempo funk laced with futuristic falsetto loops, that’s what. Wajatta—a portmanteau of Reggie Watts and John Tejada’s last names—speaks directly to the fusion of their persons, which musically, also snaps right into place.
Having trained on drums and the piano at an early age, John Tejada has sustained an appetite for extensive synth noodling and hardware tinkering throughout his career. Over the past two decades, the prolific producer/DJ/label head has released his lush, timeless harmonies and crisp, precision-turned techno across a range of labels (Cologne’s powerhouse Kompakt chief among them), in addition to launching his own imprint Palette in 1996. For his part, the utterly unclassifiable Reggie Watts has long wowed audiences with his improvised multimedia performances that blur the lines between funk jams and surrealist comedy. His musical career stretches back to his formative years in Seattle, where he served as frontman for acclaimed local rock outfit Maktub. He gained fame on the Comedy Bang! Bang! TV series and podcast, in addition to performing with LCD Soundsystem and Regina Spektor. Using his stunning multi-octave voice, looping pedals and uncanny imagination, Watts builds tracks from the ground up, then alters his genre-fluid vocals through crafty freestyling. The men of Wajatta share similar bicultural upbringings and a swiftness in their creative process, while drawing from a common love of techno dreamlands. Their 2018 debut, Casual High Technology, hints at a fledgling catalog of effortlessly graceful uptempo funk.
You can’t fake chemistry, as they say, which this odd couple of electronica has in spades. MUTEK is beyond delighted to welcome back Tejada to the festival’s big Saturday stage. This time, he and Watts will play off each other’s strengths to craft a thrilling joint declaration of propulsive, kaleidoscopic soul.