John Beltran

In Full Color

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Apparently chastened by the failure of his full-on Brazilian record Sun Gypsy, John Beltran's second full-length for Ubiquity plays more to his strengths as a techno producer. Beltran still seems enamored of Latin or Brazilian rhythms, but instead of presenting an intriguing gloss on those rhythms (as do Da Lata or Jazzanova or numerous broken beat producers), he's often content to let his drum programs merely ape them. He's improving, however, and the reasons dovetail with the two big differences between Sun Gypsy and this record. The first difference is an occasional concession to his previous production style; the opener "Rain in Shibuya" is a beautiful ten-years-after fusion of classic chord-melody Detroit techno with a subdued samba beat that gradually inserts itself over the course of seven minutes. The other difference is Beltran's wise invitation to fellow Detroiters Ayro and John Arnold (the latter also a Ubiquity recording artist), who are on hand for several tracks. While Ayro's studied Stevie Wonder impression is wearing, he and Arnold are talented musicians and producers capable of injecting some much-needed live energy to Beltran's productions.

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