A producer's credentials for recording Detroit-styled techno don't come much better than John Beltran's. Based in nearby Lansing, Beltran worked with Derrick May (as Indio) and released several records on Carl Craig's Retro-Active label (as Open House, with Mark Wilson). And his ear for melody — gained from a healthy enjoyment of world and new age music — has given his productions enough of a bite to feature for such home-listening-slanted labels as Peacefrog and Dot (as Placid Angles). After releasing singles for American labels Fragmented and Centrifugal during the early '90s, he recorded his debut album Earth and Nightfall for R&S Records in 1995.
The production on Earth and Nightfall was much more melodic than the usual R&S releases (or for that matter, the usual Detroit producer). One year later, Beltran's Ten Days of Blue LP for Peacefrog arguably bettered its predecessor. For 1997, Beltran re-upped his Placid Angles guise for an EP on the Swedish new-school electro imprint Dot, then followed with a Placid Angles full-length, The Cry (also on Peacefrog). Late in the year, Beltran released his fourth overall album, Moving Through Here, for the Apollo offshoot of R&S Records. In 1999, Beltran released a self-titled album on Transmat as part of the production trio Indio. He resumed releasing albums under his own name with two albums in 2002, Americano (Exceptional) and Sun Gypsy (Ubiquity), followed by In Full Color (also Ubiquity) in 2004. A more ambient album titled Human Engine appeared on Milan in 2006.
Following these albums, he retreated from the spotlight a bit, sporadically issuing 12"s such as 2007's techno single "Nolita" (Millions of Moments) and 2008's new wave-inspired "Here and Now" (Rhythmic Wave). He also collaborated with Jeremy Ellis on a 2010 7" single called "Return of the Sun," released under his Latin-influenced alias Sol Junkies. Beltran resumed releasing material under his own name in 2011, with the Beautiful Robots EP on Styrax Records as well as Best Of: Ambient Selections 1995-2011, a compilation released by Delsin. The label also issued his more IDM-leaning 2013 full-length Amazing Things, as well as a 2014 ambient compilation titled Presents Music for Machines, which was compiled by Beltran. Also that year, Text Records released Beltran's single "Faux," which was backed by a remix by the label's owner, Four Tet. Beltran's next full-length, the ambient album Espais, appeared on Delsin in 2015. ~ John Bush