John Beltran is a bit of a legend among house and techno aficionados, and his career over the past decade or so has been defined by unassailable dance music touched with a sort of hippified pan-globalism. Recently though, Beltran's output has seen him modifying his work to focus more on creating densely crafted tunes that are as vibrant through headphones as they are at a club. His "Aztec Girl" track (on 2000's "Earth 4" mix CD by LTJ Bukem) was a 10-minute monster built on a foundation of Brazilian-flavored percussion. It's that attitude that informs the relentlessly tropical tone of "Sun Gypsy," Beltran's first album in nearly four years, recorded after his relocation to Florida from Detroit. Though it maintains Beltran's impeccable club credentials with its solid beats ("Dashiki" is trance at its loopy best), the overriding theme is the "live" power of Latin music. From the batacuda-inspired punch of "Kiana" and the gotta-be-Gilberto tone of "Fragile" to the Santana-esque riffage of "La Nueva," Beltran has certainly succeeded in melding that hip-shaking vibe to his dance-music background.
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