Reviews: Carl Craig DJs


Indio: Indio



"Lite Yellow" [187k RealAudio]

"I Need You In The Fall"

[142k RealAudio]

Maybe it's just me, but just the name "indio" engages my brain like few other pseduonyms. More than just Spanish for "Indian," it suggests instead a derivative of "india," as in "india ink," or one letter removed from "indigo," connecting it to "Ten Days of Blue?" John Beltran's new ensemble, including Sam McQueen and Seth Taylor, will send you reeling in the same way, their music exposing the vibrant prism within, around and behind techno music.

The coloring metaphor is confirmed right from the beginning, as "Earth Tones," opens up with an up-tempo jilt. Indio then goes on and musically defines "Lite Yellow" as the hue of dawn, firefly pulses, and bulb flashes at outdoor concerts. In fact, with a sound this rich and freeform, I'd expect to see them at jazz festivals next summer.

Next, a female voice whispers "I Need You In The Fall," beckoning you past the gentle piano notes and lighter percussion into a classic, unadorned breakbeat. This seems to be a nod to the era of open experimentation Carl Craig started with Retroactive, where Beltran got his start with the "Aquatic" single.

There are also strains of Beltran's other guises here and there on songs like "Abolene" and "A Thousand Storms," and some, like "Kino Flow," echo the great sustained and filtered chords of Transmat's past. However, Indio's sound is less like electronic collages, more like full-blown compositions, and on an entirely new ethereal plane than we've visited before.

The album does have its more somber moments as well. Much greyer in sentiment are "Armenian Eyes," and "Free," with their more syncopated, drum&bass paces, united with basement echoes or raw synths. Also included on this album is "Snowdrifts," Indio's contribution to the Time:Space compilation, which strips away all reference to beats and percussion.

It's great that Transmat has reconnected to the legacy it started over a decade ago, and is well-primed to lead us into the future. Indio is obviously integral to this process, and another brilliant collection of music from John Beltran.


P.S. The release date on "Indio" is set for mid-October.

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