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Reviewed this week
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Following his stunning Back To The Balearics debut late last year Belfast conjurer returns with a follow up EP to his inaugural "Pastel Love". Each cut shimmers and sparkles with synth majesty and glistening grooves as the Tust associate explores the true roots of sun-kissed Balearic bliss. "Rise" struts on an insistent synth riff while a web of sub-melodies twinkle in the background, "Goldline" slows things right down and infuses the current LA beat flavours with White Isle charm, "Savannas" is a dubbed out slo-mo stomper while "Balcony Life" closes the show with a tight texture of subtle euphoria. Truly beautiful.
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Following its initial release in 2006, John Beltran's Human Engine LP enjoys a proper digital release on Exceptional to reach out to contemporary listeners with his pastoral shades of shoegazing electronica. There's a lot of ground covered, from the live drums and languid guitars of "A Mind Blows Everyday" to the New Age techno chimes of "That Day In Monterey", but the constant remains Beltran's knack for ethereal atmospherics. There are some more energetic moments, such as the synth-pop leaning "Here & Now", while the many shorter vignettes broaden the palette of the record, but this is essentially a collection for those that like to recline.
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Returning for his third EP on the label, Kasket surely now represents the modern face of Apollo. Compared to some of the lengthier EPs on you'll find on the R&S offshoot, Where Is Alice is relatively compact with just three tracks needed to say all that needs to be said. "Where Is Alice?" is a serene affair, lilting on a rim-shot beat and with an open-topped production that lets the balmy horns and pads drift upwards. "Jabberwocky" is a downtempo cut that wouldn't sound out of place on a Mo Wax Excursions release, leaning into a detailed breakbeat and spooky atmosphere with grace and poise. "The Forgiven" rounds things off with some New Age synth warblings that slide into dramatic live drum rolls while being shot through with unwinding reams of melancholic melody.
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