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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
these songs retread and reflect the past, ultimately Nostalgic
is about coming to terms with your history without being defined