John Beltran :: Moth (De:Tuned)

For those of you not in the know, Beltran started out on seminal labels, working on Carl Craig’s Retroactive before being signed for albums on R&S, Apollo and Peacefrog in the late 90s with his Ten Days of Blue being a classic of the genre. It’s with this album in mind that Moth arrives.

Music heads from Glasgow are some of the most fanatical you will meet, they are the true believers and very little will convince them of another view. Their chosen audio canon, Detroit techno. I can vividly recall the astonishment and unveiled contempt for my lack of motor city music in my collection. “Ya what?!!?” “Ya don’t have! Sure wah the fuck ya listenin tae?” My attempts to steer mates toward the line of UK or European techno, imprints like GPR or Eevolute, was met by a chorus of criticism. “If ya gonnae put that on ya got any Dearborn on Djax?”

It’s not that I was completely ignorant to Detroit, of course I’d a healthy handful of Underground Resistance records, Drexciya, Red Planet and more, it’s that my musical interests had lain elsewhere. One glory of missing out on something, you can always find it again. De:Tuned has been helping expand my musical mind since it opened its doors and continues to do so, John Beltran being no exception.

I can already hear the bewildered din up in Scotland at my lack of knowledge, but we won’t worry about that. For those of you not in the know, Beltran started out on seminal labels, working on Carl Craig’s Retroactive before being signed for albums on R&S, Apollo and Peacefrog in the late 90s with his Ten Days of Blue being a classic of the genre. It’s with this album in mind that Moth arrives.

“Wet With Rain” gets right to the point. A jazz medley of keys are escorted by hi hats and damp pulses before the clouds break and radiant strings beam nourishing warmth. The track is beautifully constructed, changes are effortless and performed with such delicacy and precision that the listener cannot help but become enthralled. Undoubtedly one of the best examples of the art I’ve heard in years. And the double LP starts as it means to go on, the Michigan man continuing down a more classic techno route than on his recent albums on Delsin. Take “The Returning Dance” for instance. A stripped down groove supports lush lines for a deep dreamy immersion. “Nineteen Eighty Nine” beams. Rhythms rattle as pads offer a soft and unctuous. There’s a palpable warmth to Beltran’s sound, one honed and refined during the golden age of electronics. With this, there is an overarching impression of control and mastery. At no time do tracks feel like they are beginning to unravel or they are following too rigid a line, instead pieces flow and shift with organic fluidity. Ambient abstraction comes in the form of “Street Lights” and “My Robot,” two short works of absorbing atmospherics flanking the futuristic funk of “Moving Moons.”

Moth has started me on the John Beltran trail, although trail probably does his output a disservice for this prolific Detroiter. I’ve been consuming his music now on a daily basis, finding electronic sources to accompany my coffee until I can lay my hands on the vinyl version. The De:Tuned 2LP, a superb example of this artist’s talent, has whetted my appetite. Only issue is a personal one, can’t see my girlfriend being too happy with me buying more records; though the Glaswegians might be impressed.

Moth is available on De:Tuned.

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