Switched On – John Beltran: Hallo Androiden (Delsin Records)

John Beltran Hallo Androiden (Delsin Records)

reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

John Beltran is a mainstay of Detroit techno, and continues a productive period of his career with his first new music for the Delsin label in three years. It is his second album of 2019, complementing a return for his Placid Angles alias which we heard in March – and which marked his fiftieth birthday.

What’s the music like?

Beltran is a reliable source of high quality ambient techno, and if that all sounds a bit routine and grey – like the record cover – it isn’t meant to. What that statement really says is that he very rarely puts a foot wrong, as is the case here.

Hallo Androiden, in keeping with its friendly title, has a warm and welcoming tone, but balances its softer harmonies and melodies with solid beats. Beltran often knits his tracks together with a network of loops, busying themselves over broken beats that bring focus to the softer, fuzzier centre.

The rolling beats of Perfect In Every Way illustrate how well this approach works, and how heavier drum tracks can complement the loops really well. On the other side It’s Because Of Her is a really lovely bit of soft ambience that gradually flowers, while Beautiful Robots a stately progression

Like all the softer tracks on Hallo Androiden, The Coming Home is delicate but has depth too, and its intricate construction means repeated listening is always repaid with Beltran’s work.

Does it all work?

Yes, and it complements the more retro dance approach of his Placid Angles work beautifully. Hallo Androiden is an ideal soundtrack to either end of the day, with or without headphones.

Is it recommended?

Yes, with every bit as much enthusiasm as Beltran’s work to date. Who said robots don’t have feelings?!

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