we move from the big island with its fast moving weather to a more…balearic region. music like a clear, cold stream, running gaily down a heated up mountainside, jumping over rocks, running towards the sea, greeting us on the way, us that we sit in the shadow of pine trees, shading our eyes against the brilliant glare of the ocean. yes, this very often gets described as soothing music – that might be true, but make no mistake: it is very awake music.
what might come as a surprise after a first listen and especially after this introduction is that this music is coming from a city that can hardly be described as balearic: from detroit. after a second listen one might realize the affinity to the better known detroit techno sound: it is the production, the clearness (like fresh water), the basslines. john beltran is one of the lesser known names from detroit – this might be due that many of his (especially early) productions are not that dancefloor oriented like the productions of his better known peers. there is a closeness to some of carl craig productions, and yes, his first productions also came out on one of carl craig’s labels.
but then his first longplayers have been published through european labels: the first by r&s records (yeah, the belgian label that brought us in the nineties one now-classic after the other – just check their player on their website), the two follow ups via peacefrog (they also have an amazing list of artists). in the last years he moved a little bit away from the detroit techno influences and to more house-inspired sounds, incorporating also latin flavours and basically broadening gently the scope of his music. and although his name might be not that known, chances are that you already heard his music (some tracks have been comissioned for movies and tv-series) and / or one of the many remixes he made on one of the big-name chill out compilations (from buddha bar to ltj bukem’s earth).
so let’s just pretend that it is baking hot and that you need some aural refreshment.
first on the menu is earth & nightfall, his first longplayer from 1995. ripped from vinyl as four tracks (for each side one – most of the tracks segue into each other anyway), you can get it here. where the first three sides seem to be made to listen to in one go, side four differs a little bit: there are two more, hm, dancefloor oriented tracks – and an interesting little last track…
second we have the better known, second longplayer ten days of blue. more clearly detroit techno influenced then his predecessor, but still hardly any tracks with a “straight beat”, this record is seen as a classic these days: showing an alltogether different face of the detroit sound, and yes, still sounding very fresh. this time the tracks are longer, the bass deeper, and the opening track could be called in this context nearly harsh. someone told me it is hard to find – i don’t know about that, but it seems that the vinyl goes for quite a price, and that (at least where i live) the cd (like his first record, too) is not distributed anymore. well, you can get it here, lovingly ripped track by track from my vinyl.
if you would like to have a listen to some of his new stuff – you should! then have a listen over at his myspace page.
then i would like to add (yeah, acting all coy) that this is post number 200. although i haven’t planned a special post i am quite happy it is john beltran – not least because he is one of the handsome men in techno. this is remarkable since i had for a long time the impression that musicians and dj’s either look good or make good music. john beltran is one of the men proving me wrong – of course there has always been derrick may (which is in his cute way very sexy), and in the next post we not only stay with gentle and beautiful techno, but i will also present you one of the…hmm…well, let’s just say it: hottest man in electronica. and as a compensation to the rather odd pic on the cover of earth & nightfall, here something more…appealing. and yes, we’re back on the beach.