J-Walk / Mellotronique / Before I Die

Martin “Brew” Fisher, aka J-Walk, is a Mancunian musical institution, who alongside then studio partner, fellow Martin, Desai, 20 odd years ago topped everyones charts with a terrific tune called Soul Vibration. After an album – A Night On The Rocks – and a slew of commissioned remixes*, the pair went their separate ways, and J-Walk, as a moniker at least, seemed to disappear, for around a decade. Fisher finally surfacing solo with a long-player for Miles Copeland`s Wonderfulsound – Off-Beat – in 2014. This relationship continuing, releasing a record every couple of years, until the pandemic hit. Then last year Martin “privately pressed” a new collection, Mellotronique, on a super limited run of bespoke cassettes. Jason Boardman, of British Balearic standard-bearers Aficionado, has now grabbed the set for a vinyl outing, with some damn fine fresh artwork, on his Before I Die imprint. The music, all played and produced by Martin, I guess, sorta slots into the never out of vogue genre / tradition of library music. 

This is funky, bumpy, electro-boogie. Synthesized from staccato keys, filtered, flanged, wah-wah-ed frequencies, and bent ARP-like notes. Carried by clipped rhythm guitar and full of fizzing dubwise effects. Where machines mimic steel pans, marimbas, and buzzing berimbau variations. For example, check the alien tropics of Equinox Desire. If there`s a theme, or concept, then going by the track titles, it`s one of Sci-Fi and space travel.

These are superior slices of retro-not-retro slo-mo cosmic disco that pay their respects to The BBC Radiophonic Workshop`s grooviest, wigged-out, gear, while simultaneously updating it for 2022. Hypercruiser struts, bounces, to a buoyant, bubbling, TB-303 b-line. Underwater Galaxy seems, in part, a tribute to Gary Numan`s Tubeway Army, with its blocks of dark almost gothic synths. Martin brightening proceedings by peppering those with pretty, puckered, patterns. The dubbed-out, delayed head-nodding boom-bap of A World Someplace mixes a touch of rock `n` roll twang in with its magnificent Moog-y melodies. A sleek, smooth, synthesized sexy, Hologram Jam is honed from a seductive, Juicy Fruit, R&B squelch. Winter Moon Rendezvous is a magical loved-up Art Of Noise moment. 

J-Walk`s Mellotronique can be purchased, digitally, directly from Bandcamp. Places like Phonica, Juno, and Piccadilly have the vinyl in stock. 

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