John Beltran John BeltranAmbient Selections. 1995 – 2011
A member of the second wave of Detroit techno artists from the early nineties, John Beltran is one of those cases that - in spite of being revered by the international electronica intelligentsia – has never managed to burn his name into the collective memory, like some of his colleagues from the same era have. Not to say that he hasn’t done alright for himself, far from it; his first “European” records were critically and commercially successful, he got his tracks licensed to series and films ( “Six Feet Under”, “Human Traffic”) and he travelled the globe with his DJ bag full of Latin house records. But drop his name in a conversation and you won't get the response you'd get had you said Octave One or Carl Craig, for example. And that's unfair. Maybe to compensate, the always impeccable Dutch Delsin label has compiled his best ambient works on an anthology which, even though some of the older cats might think it's recurrent, is absolutely essential for Beltran to remain forever recorded in the electronic music dictionaries of the new generations.
“Ambient Selections. 1995 – 2011” presents 15 tracks (one more on the CD version) selected personally by their maker as a “collection of favourites”. As the title indicates, his spectrum is broad and covers material from his debut “Earth & Nightfall” (R&S Records, 1995) to “Human Engine” (Milan Records, 2006), his most recent album. The “2011”, therefore, indicates there's new work – two, to be exact. Apart from its cohesive nature, an analysis of the origins of the tracks can help to organise Beltran's work according to the relevance of each track (again: according to the man himself) for those who would like to take a dive into his full albums. So the track-list is made up of four tracks from the essential “Ten Days Of Blue” (Peacefrog, 1996), three from “ Earth & Nightfall”, two from “Human Engine” and one from “Americano” (Exceptional, 2002) and “Moving Through Here” (Apollo, 1997). Plus, there's a track from “The Cry” (Peacefrog, 1997), released under his alias Placid Angles, and another one from “Indio” (Transmat, 1999), the only album by the trio with the same name - formed by Beltran, Sam McQueen and Seth Taylor - all of them of an almost unreal beauty.
From the first seconds of the fragile melody that opens “Collage Of Dreams” (without a doubt his big masterpiece), it's obvious this is music made someone very special. One of those artists capable of putting a spell on you - making you believe in imaginary paradises where problems are solved by weightlessness, physically and emotionally. One after the other, little miracles happen - sonorities are mixed and rocked by his strong hands, reaching beatific quotas of lightness and magnificence. From the arpeggios of “Sweet Soul” to the pads of “Anticipation”, from the space melodies of “Snowdrifts” to the guitar solos of “Sub Surface”, from the lightness of “Brilliant” to the gracefulness of “Vienna”, and so on. It all sounds so vast, so virtuous and so eternal that it seems like something tailor-made for the gods. If you've ever crossed paths with one of those people who say “electronic music has no soul”, this is the record to shut them up forever.
“Collage Of Dreams”