Where to start with this one… I mean, if someone was to ask you about John Beltran, where would you start? What pigeonhole would he undeservedly be forced into? I’m pretty sure a lot of people wouldn’t even know who he is unless coming from some sort of techno background. Sure, after last years brilliant ‘Ambient Selections’ it would be easy to assume this was his bread and butter since the early 90’s. I mean, John did follow Aphex on R&S Records with a similarly legendary album (Earth & Nightfall) but if you dig a little deeper, his productions span the very definition of an electronic music spectrum, from latin infused downtempo to straight-up Retroactive techno.
OK… so apply that very thinking, that experience, and that mentality of an artist that just does exactly what he feels, and you end up with a pretty amazing album. “There was no real plan [for the album]. Some of these songs (“Clouds Pull”) are over two years old. This album is truly an accumulation of music inspired by my life as a new father but I didn’t write these songs for an album per say. I guess it was just written with a lot of love.”
You know those albums which immediately grab you, those albums that you think about revisiting later in the day because you feel like listening to something little chilled; or something more upbeat; something to wake you up a little? Well this isn’t one of those albums. It’s a collection of music that shape-shifts, evolves and then deconstructs anything you previously had in mind, rebuilding your feelings and thoughts alongside every new listen.
By far my favourite track on the album, “Clouds Pull” is a stark reminder of some epic 90’s piano work that is the epitome of the above statement; with every listen evoking something new, sparking elements of so many other musicians – be it sad, happy, elated or euphoric. Folk-esque, melodic tracks such as “Our Second Summer” and “Flower Power Submarine” seek a gentle introduction to the warmer seasons and wouldn’t look out of place on a Bibio record. This vibe continues with the likes of “Seasons Go”, echo-ing the new innovators of garage such as Fourtet, Burial and the ‘chillwave’ sounds of the likes of Stumbleine. Then there’s tracks such as “Medellin” and “Broken Mechanism” which are quite simply, brilliant ambient electronica, and need to be heard without any comparisons.
Many albums are named to define, but very few succeed. But I think you’ll agree, this one’s definitely amazing.