<<<<<Growing up on the Westside of Michigan, I’ve never identified with the spare soul of Detroit techno. I’ve navigated through Chicago house, British jungle, 2-step, and now broken beat, but never felt at home in the neighboring techno scene.
<<<<<Expecting alienation, I play techno veteran John Beltran’s “Detroit Moments” but instead am welcomed by a sensibility matching my own musical meanderings. The sparse composition of dazzling melodies interspersed over a clacking bassline is reminiscent of Michigan’s vast, uncluttered cityscapes dotted with blinking fluorescent streetlights and passing headlights. Minimal but not sterile, Beltran restrains from making his music too personal so I’m able to mentally drive along my own private Detroit.
As an artist, Beltran’s sound is constantly re-orientating: he’s mastered both tripped-out ambient and Brazilian house. Though these cultural influences correspond with his travels— from his origins in Lansing, MI to Miami to LA and back to Lansing — he never strays too far from his signatureminimal style.
<<<<<“Going Home,” the standout track, addresses this nomadic lifestyle. The accelerating tempo mimics his heart beating in anticipation, while the soaring melody and warm pulsations lift you up and rush you back to the people and the place you’ve been longing for.<<<<<While the rest of the EP is a series of sonic snapshots that journal Beltran’s life and travels, “Placid Angles” glances backwards at his former identity as producer for labels Peacefrog and Retroactive (Carl Craig).Aside from the whispery female confessional, this self-proclaimed “poetic
house track” gets funky with a bouncy bassline, handclaps, and spaced-out keys — ideal for warming up the dancefloor.
<<<<<“Sweet Soul” is a float in the wonders of the present. With past explorations in various Latin styles, Beltran seems to have made peace with his heritage while crediting his industrial hometown. The incessant Latin rhythms shuffle alongside delicate droplets of keys, while reassuring bursts of a melodic clarinet alternate with resonating percussion in thebackground.
<<<<<While these songs retread and reflect the past, ultimately Nostalgic is about coming to terms with your history without being defined by it.

Catalog: Groovia 002
Story telling: Catherine Nygen
Cover art design by Chris @Defined by Media
original picture by Justin William Lin +

John Beltran - Going Home - EP - Placid Angles