Sometimes you hear a piece of music that strikes you immediately, has you lift your ear towards the speaker and say “What is this?” But if you are going to write about it, turn people on to it, you need to hear it more than once to let it sink in.
Today at Pet Sounds, I heard John Beltran’s Espais and it wasn’t only me that was struck by it, customers in the shop were asking about this intriguing and evocative music coming out of the speakers, pouring soundscape and sonic emotion into the room. It’s instrumental, ambient, atmospheric, beautiful, dark, grinding, cinemascopic – compelling. If you are a fan of the wonderful Harold Budd, I would say this is for you, although this weaves a thread quintessentially European, treading into darkness rather than heading toward the light. This is my first impression but in reality I need to listen to it a few more times before I tell you about it – unless I post the press release:
John Beltran continues his relationship with Delsin Records with the release of a new ambient album, Espais in summer 2015.
Beltran has long been a master of his art, turning out seminal LPs and EPs on labels like Peacefrog, Millions of Moments and Text Records. Back in 2013 he released the well received Amazing Things following a wide ranging compilation on the label, and in the near future he is to release another full length project, but first comes this.
Espais is an absorbing soundtrack featuring 17 pieces of immersive, sonically lush and rich music. As he has throughout his career, Beltran makes use of modern techniques and classical composition to craft a wide range of blissfully soul soothing moods and supple, subtle grooves.
Tracks like ‘Espais’ are uplifting and heavenly with their sombre chords, ‘P?estávka’ is angelic and crystal clear, where ‘Ruimten’ is rather more meaning and forbidding. Its textures are frazzled and almost industrial. Elsewhere efforts like ‘Dream Tangle’ blend synthetic machine made sounds with more organic strings and the results are truly moving throughout.
Unfolding like a proper journey with a carefully threaded narrative, this album is yet another testament to Beltran’s ability to sculpt sound in intricate and compelling ways.