JOHN BELTRAN with COREY DAWKINS , MICHAEL MARTINS , P-PLUS and MUZIKLEE INZANE at Revival (783 College), Friday (September 23). $10 before midnight, $15 after. www.beatlifestyle.com. Rating: NNNNN
John Beltran must frustrate his record labels. Not because of the quality of his music -- he's always been well received by the critics and top DJs. Beltran's his own harshest critic, and ends up publicly slagging his back catalogue every time he gets bored and changes styles. It's a nasty habit that must make labels nervous about selling those old releases.
The last time this happened was in the late 90s, when he ditched the moody Detroit techno he'd built his name on in favour of Latin-flavoured broken beat soul. It's no suprise that he's now grown bored with that and is about to return to a more atmospheric electronic sound. This time he's releasing his own material, on his new Sol Junkie label.
"I got tired of doing these recycled samba beats," he admits over a cell while driving around his new L.A. neighbourhood. "I was at a Ubiquity (the label that put out his last two albums) party a while ago, and they played only hiphop all night. I hadn't brought any myself, so when it was time for me to play I literally cleared the floor and had to build it up again from scratch.
"Don't get me wrong," he adds. "I love hiphop, but I can't believe that everyone is dropping the soulful thing for it. There's no real scene left for soulful stuff, and I don't want to feel like I'm the last one doing it."
Like many veteran dance music producers, Beltran's been more inspired lately by what rock artists have been doing with electronic music. Along with his seventh solo album, he's also planning to release a record by Jeremy Ellis, who it seems has also dropped broken beat soul in favour of something closer to electronic pop.
"It's like everyone is waiting to see what's next in music right now. I'm enjoying that whole indie rock side of the electronic scene -- we were all getting tired of the decadence. We need something new to come along in reaction to these times, like what happened in the 90s with grunge."