John Beltran - Serendipia - OATH011 - Oathcreations
Style; Ambient, Baile Funk, Experimental, Latin
2 x 12"
A1: Taina (Feat. Ezel, Arnold)
B1: Em Trancoso
B2: Sa Coma Blue (Feat. John Arnold)
B3: Aşk Anları
C1: La Hermosa Vista
C2: Sueños Soleados
D2: Yangu Milele
The iconic John Beltran returns once again to Oath to exercise his passionate love affair with all things Balearic, and to say he expanded upon his 22’ EP with style is a severe understatement..
Based purely on his outputs over the years, there is little that seemingly John Beltran cannot do, and the results of his near 30-year long career are there for all to experience, taste, and sample. His music simply speaks differently, touching upon the palette of emotions that make up the human experience, be it the tenderest of sensory affirmations through to the euphoric, emboldening sweeps that get the listener lost deep within themselves – in the most perfected way imaginable. Emerging from the spectrum of sounds that made up that oh-so-referenced decade of the 90s, Beltran stands tall amongst his peers in this sense, with his discography alluding to many differing spheres of influence, a testament to the age-old adage of never standing still – there’s always room to grow, to experience, to nourish. From the sheer dance-laden brilliance of Placid Angles, the experimental grooves of Nostalgic, the techno excellence of Indio, and everything that permeates the music released under his own name, John Beltran continues to reset the goalposts, and we simply have to sit back and watch it all evolve right in front of us.
True to his broad-reaching range of influences, Beltran’s passion for Jazz, Brazilian and Balearic music has shone through in numerous ways within his career. His early 2000s LP releases on Ubiquity and his work with Sol Set are prime examples of how to merge live percussive influences with gorgeous, emotive synth work and vocals, and clearly, these ideals stuck with Beltran as he revitalized the Sol Set project for last year’s ‘Ola de Novo’ on All Good, alongside the magnificent ‘Para Viajeros’ EP. Both records showcased a majesty of instrumentation, a series of moods that are deeply evocative and pleasant to the ears on numerous levels. But there is never a sense of being lost within it all, as all the elements work tirelessly to create a perfected atmosphere of being, a cordial and highly tuned environment that feels so very believable. Its music you want to hold in your hands for the rest of your days, a vessel that transports to that idealised version of life where everything feels just right.
‘Serendipia’, Beltran’s new LP, carries forward the ideals of Sol Set and reignites the quietly evolving flames that were lit last year, and as an elaboration on his craft and its sound it’s really quite something. The title suggests the pleasantry that can be found in pleasant surprises, and whilst we aren’t surprised at the technical application or instrumentation on display (a signature of Beltran throughout his career). Still, we are pleasantly surprised by the display of emotive tools that are used to build up the soundscapes in which we find ourselves. Every tune is given time and space to breathe, and touches upon the lexicon of Balearic language and vibrations, stopping by the coast on multiple occasions to the point which you can feel the sand between your feet. The rhythms are set to the rhythms of life, such as on the tracks ‘Taina’ and ‘Cachaca’, which focus on up-tempo latin and jazz rhythms to get the pace set beautifully. Many of the tracks, such as ‘Em Trancoso’, ‘Sa Coma blue’ (featuring John Arnold), ‘Ask Anlari’, and ‘La Hermosa Vista’ have trance-like qualities to them, with free-flowing pianos and synths evolving expertly over simmering, aquatic rhythms. Towards the business end of the record, ‘Suenos Soleados’ and ‘Mallorca’ take us back to the overlook, basking in the 30 degree heat as the blue hues envelope the senses. To wrap things up, ‘Yangu Milele’ movs us to 5am or so, perhaps, where the rhythm is slowing down but the intensity remains just the same. As journeys go, there’s so much here to fall deep within, to be unravelled both within and out width the mind and body – to be honest, we come to expect nothing less from someone like John Beltran, who’s continual dips into the space between instrumentation and emotion conjure up records like no other.
Closing your eyes for a moment when engaging with this record transports us into a world of vibrancy, interactivity, and colour, where the thoughts and feelings of a thousand experiences transpose themselves onto us, inviting us to part with something of our own. John Beltran has hit a rich vein of form with his recent excursions into this kind of musical environment, but its one he is very familiar with, one he has a true appreciation and understanding of. No wonder his music speaks in such a way, and on this record his expert approach in present and correct – and the music itself, well, let’s just say transformative and majestic might be two ways of describing but a small part of the experience. Summer’s round the corner, time to escape once again…